House Rebuilding 2009

Rizek Suleiman Salah is one of the many Palestinians whose homes were razed during the annexation of key swathes of land as Israel built the Apartheid Wall. Living in the town of Al-Khader, just outside of Bethlehem city, the Israeli military demolished his home twice, once in 1997, then again in 2003. Rizik and his wife Seaham had at the time six children together and with his mother all 9 of them live together in one room, sharing one kitchen and one bathroom. 

From that point on, until Holy Land Trust alongside the international community rebuilt his home, they had lived on the top floor of their relatives’ home.  A family of eight, they share just two tiny rooms. Their family was forced to separate. 

The Israelis first demolished the family home in 1997, shaking the family to the core. Because at that time, home demolitions weren’t as prevalent as they are now. In fact, since the signing of the so-called Oslo Peace Accords, settlement expansion and Palestinian home demolitions spiked sharply. 

Over the next five years the Salahs did everything to re-build their house again. Because of the economic impact of Israel’s system of settler colonialism, the family had little in terms of jobs or investment As a result, to finance their home they were forced to sell all the family’s jewelry to pay for the working material, and when it was almost ready for them to move back into their new home, Israel demolished the just rebuilt house again within a few minutes. 

With the support of the international community, Holy Land Trust was able to step into that space of darkness and shine a small ray of hope. 

As a Palestinian Christian, I understand the life and message of Christ as working for justice on the side of the oppressed and marginalized. I am asking you to pray for me while on this journey, but also pray for my Muslim brothers and sisters who live in a perpetual state of fear not knowing when their homes will be demolished.

 
Elias Deis
Executive Director
Holy Land Trust’s E.D., Elias Deis has worked for over a decade at Holy Land Trust. He was formally the Travel & Encounter Program Director and serves on the Beit Sahour City Council.

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