THE HOUSE THAT CANADA BUILT
by Jeff Halper, ICAHD Director
Print Report (PDF)
In two weeks this summer, between July 19-August 3rd, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) built a beautiful, four-room home for the Fhadat family of the West Bank town of Anata, complete with a stone fence and garden! Much of the funding for the home was raised on my month-long tour of Canada last February, when I traveled to 15 cities between Halifax and Newfoundland in the east to Vancouver and Vancouver Island in the west, sponsored by the United Church of Canada’s United Network For A Just Peace In Palestine And Israel (UNJPPI) and Independent Jewish Voices (IJV). CUPE, it should be noted, also donated $2000 towards the camp.
A key part of ICAHD’s resistance to Israeli occupation, and especially to Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes (about 46,000 on the Occupied Territory since 1967), is to rebuild demolished homes as political acts of resistance. We have built 189 homes in the past 15 years, significant if seen as 189 joint actions of Israeli, Palestinian and international activists working together.
This year we built a home for the Fhedat family of Anata. The Fhedat family is really two families, that of the husband and wife and the husband’s widowed sister-in-law – 11 children altogether. An impoverished Bedouin family, the Fhedats were forced to demolish their own home by the Israeli authorities or face a violent demolition by the IDF and a stiff fine of $15-20,000.
Twenty international volunteers participated in this year’s rebuilding camp. Our base was Beit Arabiya, the home of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh that has been demolished six times (and rebuilt each time by ICAHD), where we slept, ate and had encounters with Palestinian and Israeli activists and academics in the evenings.
It was amazing to see the house progress over the two week period, It gave us all a sense of accomplishment to actually construct something physical: in the evening when we left the site a wall, or a window, or a bathroom existed that had not been there in the morning. Here are a couple photos of the rebuilding:
1. Laying the Foundations