Members of Joudi’s family in their new home
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ICAHD’s plans for its 200th rebuilding project needed to be altered. The original proposal was to hold a rebuilding camp for internationals in November 2020. Participants would join with Palestinians and Israelis who refused to be enemies in this act of political non-violent resistance to Israel’s occupation policies. The Good Shepherd Collective, which represents Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, had been identified as partners for this rebuilding project.
With the outbreak of the pandemic, the rebuilding camp was cancelled. We moved to Plan B which was to proceed with the rebuilding done by local Israeli activists working alongside Palestinians for the construction, again demonstrating joint commitment to justice. Sadly, with another lockdown put into place, even that had to be cancelled. We then had to move to plan C. Funds that had been donated to ICAHD UK were transferred to the Good Shepherd Collective. Two families were identified to receive funds. Each reside in areas that are highly contested by Israeli authorities and where extreme religious Jewish settlers harass Palestinians. Thus for their security, we are not stating the exact details of these two families except to say that Joudi’s family lives near Kiryat Araba and Zayed’s is in Um al-Khair.
Joudi’s is an extended family now consisting of three generations. After Joudi’s original home was demolished, the family moved in with other relatives in very cramped conditions. It took several years to save enough money to construct the shell of a two-story home however it had been unable to gather enough money to complete the interior. ICAHD UK’s donation has enabled the family to finish the interior and move in.
A second family was also identified for rebuilding following its experience of four home demolitions. Funds provided by another organisation this autumn enabled Zayed to construct one-room to provide better shelter for the young family over the winter. Donations from ICAHD UK supporters will be used to rebuild the kitchen. This work is about to begin, and photos of the completed home will appear in a future report.
The tin shelter where Zayed was living with his young family
2020 saw a spike in Israel’s violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention with 865 demolitions of homes and structures vital for living. They resulted in the displacement of 1014 Palestinians and an additional 5615 Palestinian lives affected. ICAHD’s rebuilding is not done primarily for humanitarian reasons. It is an act of political resistance that calls for Israel to end this cruel policy that results in the displacement of the indigenous Palestinian population which is central to settler colonialism.