22 July, 2010 — MRZine
Day One of the ICAHD Work Camp, July 19, 2010
Rubble covers the tile floor at the site of the demolished home we are beginning to rebuild in the East Jerusalem section of Anata, a Palestinian town divided between occupied “East” Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Activists from the United States, Britain, Germany, and Iran, reinforced daily by local Palestinian and Israeli activists, have gathered here for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions‘ eighth annual summer rebuilding camp. They will spend two weeks rebuilding a Palestinian home that has been destroyed by the Israeli authorities.
This year’s house belongs to the Hamdan family, which was first demolished in 2005. In 2007, ICAHD activists began rebuilding the home, but because it was located near a section of Israel’s apartheid wall that was being constructed around Anata, battles of stone-throwing, tear gas, shooting, and arrests erupted between the Palestinian residents resisting their virtual imprisonment behind 8-meter/26-foot-high concrete blocks and the Israeli army and police. Feeling endangered, ICAHD suspended the effort for an alternative site. In 2008, the ICAHD camp came back to the Hamdan home and completed its reconstruction. The house, however, was demolished again within a few months. Since our rebuilding constitutes political acts of resistance to occupation and not “humanitarian gestures,” we try to rebuild every home that is redemolished.
As we cleared the rubble from the foundation this morning, I noticed the tile floor that remained underneath. I was struck by the fact that the tiles were the same pattern as those we used last summer, when I participated in the ICAHD effort to rebuild a house a short distance away. I thought about the volunteers in 2007 and 2008, who had worked in the summer heat to build this home, only to have their work destroyed shortly after the family moved in.