On June 11, 2007, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) announced the launching of a campaign to rebuild the home of every Palestinian family whose house is demolished over the coming year. The launch was held in conjunction with the 40th year of the Occupation, for which they returned to the place where the Occupation began – the few houses of what had been the historic Mughrabi Quarter where, on the night of June 11, 1967, 135 Palestinian families were roused from their beds in the Middle of the night and their neighborhood demolished so as to create a plaza in front of the Wailing Wall. It was an act that had nothing to do with either the war or with security. It represented only the creation of the first “fact on the ground” of thousands that would come asserting exclusive Israeli claims over the entire country.
The ICAHD activists, accompanied by Israeli, Palestinian and international press, were met in the Quarter’s sole remaining mosque by Mahmoud Masloukhi, the Mughrabi Quarter mukhtar, who offered words of greeting and spoke of the night 40 years ago when his home was demolished. Aisha Masloukhi, Mahmoud’s sister, also spoke of her experiences that night and what happened to the Quarter’s residents in the years following that traumatic night.
Jeff Halper, ICAHD’s Coordinator, told the assembled Mughrabi Quarter residents that we had come as Israelis not only to remember the night the Occupation began but to take responsibility for the actions of our government, responsibility Israel has tried to avoid all these decades. ICAHD’s latest campaign, he said, went beyond mere acknowledgment and solidarity, however. It represents a further intensifying of ICAHD’s resistance to the Occupation. Meir Margalit, ICAHD’s Field Coordinator, then presented a general overview of Israel’s house demolition policy and its impact on the Palestinian population.
After fielding questions from the press and doing interviews, the ICAHD activists, accompanied by Palestinian residents (and a contingent of Border Police and undercover detectives), proceeded to the home of Naim Kabaja, whose one-room home in the Muslim Quarter was demolished last week. There we began construction of the first official house of the campaign (though we have built 10 over the month of May in preparation). (See the accompanying pictures.) First thing this morning (the 12th), inspectors of the Jerusalem Municipality arrived and took their pictures. Within a day or two a demolition order will be placed on the rebuilt home, and within a week the house will likely be demolished again.
ICAHD will stay at the family’s side and will resist any attempt to demolish the home. Crucial for the success of our resistance is the international support you can offer us. Follow our website – and those of ICAHD USA and ICAHD UK – for updates and information. Mobilize community organizations where you live, professional associations and your political representatives.
Through this campaign we can focus intense international pressures on Israel to stop demolitions and, by raising public consciousness, to generate international opposition to the Occupation as a whole. Let us begin by saving the Kabaja home!
For more info, contact:
ICAHD, Tel: 02-624-5560, 0525216551