In February’s St John’s News, Hazel included an article about house demolitions in East Jerusalem and in particular the recent demolition of Beit Arabiya. This was the first of a series of articles which, as part of our ‘Vision’ priorities for 2012, will help to raise awareness about issues of injustice in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory that require our prayers and actions.
In addition to these articles, the Pathfinders will be seeking to learn about the various issues – including the house demolitions, building of illegal settlements and the wall – and using their display board in the Church hall to share this information with the whole Church. Do please take time to check out the board which we hope to update regularly.
On Sunday 5th February, the Pathfinders watched a DVD about house demolitions carried out by the Israeli Authorities and the rebuilding programme organised by ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions). Seeing the bulldozers demolish someone’s home in the video was really shocking. At the same time, the film of the rebuilding was very moving: Palestinian and Israeli people working together to rebuild someone’s home – a home which could be destroyed again at any time. We also realised whilst watching the DVD that the house which was rebuilt in the video was Beit Arabiya – the same house which was demolished in January this year and which Hazel reported on last month.
Whilst it is important that we learn about the occupation and the types of injustice that are being carried out against the Palestinian people, it is also important that we learn about the positive actions that people are taking in support of the Palestinian people. Maybe such knowledge will give us the hope and courage to stand alongside those who are being persecuted and oppressed.
One group that is currently fighting for survival is the Palestinian-Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar. The 180-strong community faces the threat of imminent displacement if the Israeli authorities demolish their homes and school as planned. The Khan al Ahmar Jahalin School is the only school to provide primary education to children of the Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin tribe.
Campaigning by ICAHD supporters and so many others internationally has contributed to getting the Khan al-Ahmar School and neighbouring Bedouin dwellings a reprieve from the threat of demolition by Israeli authorities. A delegation of representatives from Israeli authorities visited Khan al-Ahmar on the 1st February. The delegation referred to pressure mounted by the international community and human rights groups as the reason they decided to come and see the situation of the community.
The community was told not to fear demolitions and was assured that Israel will not demolish the school or the homes in the community without first agreeing with the Bedouin on a suitable alternative future for the community.
The community has requested continuing international support to ensure that the above assurances are adhered to by the Israeli authorities.
For more information on the work of ICAHD go to www.icahd.org .