St John the Baptist Parish Church

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House demolitions: Beit Arabiya (part 2)


In her article back in February, Hazel told us about Beit Arabiya (meaning Arabiya's House) the home of Arabiya and Salim Shawamreh and their seven children, which was demolished for the fifth time in January 2012.

This was one of the stories which particularly motivated the Pathfinders to share with the Church what they had learnt, and what motivated one of our Pathfinders, Laurence Smith, to write a moving and powerful script on the house demolitions.

In July Beit Arabiya was rebuilt during ICAHD’s (Israel Committee Against House Demolitions) tenth annual rebuilding camp that attracted more than thirty internationals, together with Israelis and Palestinians who refuse to be enemies, demonstrating that there are partners for peace. Within two weeks, the pile of rubble left after the demolition of the house in the middle of the night on 23rd January, was transformed into a fully functioning house.

On 1st November Beit Arabiya was demolished for the sixth time.


The following quotation is taken from the ICAHD website and is written by a witness to the events which took place that night:

“We all witnessed the committing of a crime last night, but where are the police, the courts? Who arrest, try and convict the culprits? What happens when governments and their agents are responsible for serious crimes? Is there no justice? No mechanism of bringing them to justice? Can they continue their crimes with impunity (in the case of Israel's leaders and agents, military and police, these last 65 years)? The demolition of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh's home for the sixth time demonstrates our inability to bring some kinds of criminals, perhaps the worst kind, to justice -- systematic violators of fundamental human rights and international law bringing to bear on innocent people the full weight of their state violence. Beit Arabiya poses a challenge to everyone who believes that law and human rights should be the basis of our collective life, not power or violence.”