Refugees in their own land

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20

In 2002 Ramzi Qaisieh opened a restaurant in the vibrant Bethlehem suburb of Beit Jala. The business grew and prospered and provided an income for him and his family. The restaurant was built on land owned by the family for several generations. El Makhrour restaurant was popular and thriving, it had beautiful spaces inside and out with a wonderful view over the valley. The restaurant was known for warmth and hospitality.

But in 2012 the Israeli army demolished Ramzi’s home and business claiming it had been built without a permit. Determinedly the family restored the wrecked property and the restaurant reopened. But in 2013, just a year later, the business and home were destroyed again. And again in 2015 and 2019 when the restaurant finally closed.

Now the family are left without shelter or an income. For the last two years, three generations have been forced to live in a tent on the land they own, while the Israeli authorities attempt to evict them from their own land. They are determined to stay. The land they own has been designated ‘Area C’ under the Oslo Accords which means it is under Israeli authority and building permits are very rarely issued. The beautiful lands of El Makhrour are often targeted because of their proximity to settlements and their strategic position.

Ramzi says: “Now we are living in a tent we step on water it’s wet everywhere the place is full of snakes, living is hard like this in winter and in summer, our kitchen is outdoors, it’s 2021 and I consider myself a refugee in my own land.”


We cannot stop the bulldozers or end the legal dispute but we can help Ramzi and his family live a little more comfortably if you will help us. We want to raise $45.000 To buy a mobile caravan for the family to live in so they can cook inside and be protected from the extremes of the weather. Please help us to help them, to show solidarity in the face of oppression and bring some comfort and security in this time of conflict and danger.

This campaign is a cooperation between Holy Land Trust and Taghyeer.

holy-land-trust-about-elias-deis2.pngElias 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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