House Rebuilding 2011

During the Nakba, Jewish paramilitary forces razed hundreds and hundreds of indigenous towns and villages, displace some 750,000 Palestinians during the creation of the state of Israel. Recognizing the horror and illegitimate means of taking over land by driving out the local population, the international community enshrined the “Right of Return” for the Palestinian refugee community into law. Since 1948, it has been the dream of every Palestinian to return back to their ancestral land, to leave a life of perpetual refugee status, and carry on with their family history, tradition and culture. There are millions of Palestinian refugees across the world today. While we didn’t return a refugee to their home in 2011, we were able to build them a home out of the refugee camps in Bethlehem. 

In 2004, the Israeli military demolished the home of Atallah Rizik, sending him to the camps. For seven years he lived in uncertainty if he would ever see anything resembling justice after the demolition of his home. In April of 2011, eighteen supporters of the UK human rights organization the Amos Trust traveled to Palestine to help to rebuild his home in al-Walaji. 

The house was completed and the family moved in, but shortly after, Israel issued some  50 demolition orders in the community of al-Walaji. From October 2014 to October 2019, the Israeli military has demolished some 31 structures, impacting over 131 people according to OCHA. 

The response from the local community, as well as our international partners in Amos Trust was to redouble our efforts to shine a light on the issue of home demolitions in al-Walaji to the international community, but at the same time provide tangible assistance to the indigenous communities who had been forcefully displaced.

 
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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