My colleague Ellen Davidson, an editor at the Indypendent and a long-time peace and justice activist, is currently in occupied East Jerusalem rebuilding homes that were demolished by Israeli forces. She’s working with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), and serves on the board for ICAHD’s U.S. branch.
Ellen is blogging for the Indypendent about her experiences in East Jerusalem, and her work provides a window into the absurd banality, and the horror, of Israeli home demolitions.
We dragged our sweaty bodies home for dinner and a presentation from Jeff and Salim about the Israeli occupation and the history of Beit Arabeia, the house where we are staying. Our host Salim Shawamra explained the nightmarish and expensive process he repeatedly undertook in unsuccessfully trying to get a permit to construct the house, named after our hostess, Arabeia Shawamra. This house has been demolished and reconstructed four times, the last time 2003, and there is currently a demolition order pending against it. Now it is used as a peace center, and the Shawamra family only stays here during the ICAHD summer camp, because they fear that if they lived here fulltime, they would lose their Jerusalem residency permits, and if the place is demolished again, they would be left with no place to live.