– The former Fhadad family home, only partially rebuilt after being self-demolished.
This house rebuilding project, the 12th such camp carried out by ICAHD, ran from July 19th – August 3rd 2015. Twenty international volunteers from Finland, USA, Germany, UK, Australia supported by Palestinian and Israeli activists with a Palestinian team of professional builders, created a four-room house, now the home of the Fhadad family, who had previously been forced to demolish their own home by the Israeli authorities. The international volunteers ‘camped’ at Beit Arabiya, the site of a Palestinian home demolished six times and finally in November 2012. The hosts (the owners of the house) provided the catering, sleeping arrangements and basic sanitation and washing faciities. Each day transport was provided to transfer the team to the building site.
The camp was notable for the enthusiastic and dedicated work, the close cooperation between the volunteers, the Palestinian master builders and local activists and the great good humour despite the 40 degrees C temperatures and challenging physicality of the work. The camp was joined on occasion by further volunteers from the Ramallah Friends (Quakers) School, including a delegation of young American teachers spending their summer vacation as volunteers teaching in Ramallah.
The rebuilding work was completed as planned in the two weeks of the camp, led by the team of Palestinian builders with the rebuilding camp participants mixing concrete, moving bricks, blocks and tiles and creating the patio smallholding and plot boundary wall. Photograph sequences showing the daily development of the building and surrounding smallholding can be seen in these animated timelines here and here.
The keys to the newly completed building were handed over to the family at a dedication ceremony involving local residents of the West Bank town of Anata (including the mayor), Palestinian activists from around the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli activists and a large delegation of Go Palestine! (young Palestinians from around the world who spend the summer in Palestine). They gathered to hear speeches, plant fruit trees in the family garden, dance the Dabka, partake in a delicious Palestinian meal and help the family move their furniture in.
This was ICAHD’s 189th rebuilt home – its 189th act of political resistance to the Israeli Occupation. Because of your particular support and with many other donations from around the world, it is in reality a home built by the growing international community supporting Palestinian aspirations for freedom.
– A view of the rebuilding site, showing the recycled materials to be used, and the encircling apartheid wall.
In addition to the house, the ICAHD Summer Camp also helped to rebuild a much needed shelter for a Bedouin community in the Jordan Valley. ICAHD highlights those demolitions to draw attention to the ever present threat that very vulnerable Bedouin communities will be forcibly displaced from their historical homelands.
The program for the summer camp included study visits to NGO’s working in the occupied West Bank and activist organisations and families who have been affected by house demolition. Participants’ daily blogs of the camp can be found on this page.
“Being a participant in this event was a unique and life changing experience for me, focussing my attention as never before on the personal day to day experience of what the occupation means to ordinary Palestinian families. Being part of an international group was also extremely enriching.” – Sue, UK.
“The ICAHD rebuilding camp has changed my life. To help build a house for someone in need is very fulfilling. The ICAHD program gave me a chance to learn from many very committed and deeply informed people. The international camp team were inspirational, freely sharing their wide experience and understanding.” – Laurie, UK.
“I have been participating in the building camps run by ICAHD for a number of years now and have increasingly become aware of their importance. It is clear to me, that one of the major elements of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict concerns the construction and destruction of homes. This can be seen in the increasingly violent disputes over territory and settlement building and may equally be seen in the variety of punitive measures aimed at home ownership, including demolitions, house appropriation and the closing of homes. This work now informs my research and teaching practice in Architecture…. Working with Israeli, Palestinian and international volunteers to build a house is a very powerful experience. A home is a fundamental need to enable people to live normal and productive lives in our world today.” Terry, UK.
(Architect and author) “Eyal Weizman writes that ICAHD’s practices turn the traditional notion that architectural research leads to construction (or theory to practice) on it’s head. ICAHD not only conducts research in order to build, but builds in order to tease out the very information it is seeking on planning practices and legislation. This form of architectural research thus carves out possible spaces of agency within a paralysing and powerful system of apparent impossibilities, in the process becoming a form of radical critical practice”
– from The Politics of Space and Place (2012) edited by Chiara Certoma, Nicola Clewer & Doug Elsey. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.