House Rebuilding 2015

Rebuilding the home of Yacoub Aby Nawa in the al-Aroub refugee camp, was impactful, because the Nawa family had their home demolished multiple times before. For the world, this story embodied the Palestinian concept of Sumud. 

“There is a beautiful Arabic word ‘Sumud’ which translates roughly as steadfastness. It has come to embody the idea of resisting the occupation by remaining on the land, despite the intense pressure to leave. We love the idea that existing is resisting and are committed to standing alongside our Palestinian brothers and sisters as they choose to remain.” explains Nive, one of the leaders at Amos Trust.

“Easily the most moving moment in a week of moments was the day we went to meet the family. I remember it was a Friday, and as we stood looking at this pile of rubble of twisted cables and broken cement, we were told that on Wednesday it had been their home. As the grandfather explained to us through an interpreter that this was the fourth time their home had been demolished, the father swept around making sure we were all comfortably seated in the shade, and that we had enough water and coffee,” explained another Amos Trust volunteer.

 “A man with no home’s first thought was to our comfort, as was the custom he had been taught with regard to hospitality and guests. Two boys poked around on the pile of dusty cement, and I wondered if they stood on the remains of what was once their bedroom. As we stood in the 26(C) degree heat, sipping our cups of bottled water obviously purchased by the father for our visit, we learned that the drinking well the 70-year-old grandfather had taken 2 years to dig had been filled in by the bulldozer, for good measure. It’s when we were shown the tents they lived in now, and I spotted the mother tucked into the corner, rocking her 40-day old infant, that I started to cry,” he continued.

Rebuilding Home, Rebuilding Hope from Amos Trust on Vimeo.

 

al-Aroub is one of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank. Situated between settlements, squeezed into tightly packed ethnic enclaves by design, the local Palestinians have little options for natural growth. With refugees with limited resources and Israel’s methodical policies that create Bantustans. So investing in material ways in that area is crucial to the execution of meaningful nonviolent resistance. 

The project is a community project that gives hope, power, and strength not only to the family whose house we are rebuilding but also to the entire community.  Since the project is a means of nonviolent resistance, it helps to develop a community that understands nonviolent tactics rand may use this rather than violence in the future.  International participants get the chance to learn and serve the local community for a better future. 

When we bring 31 internationals to work hand-in-hand with Palestinian refugees, it sends a powerful message to the outside world.

 
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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