Palestinian homes destroyed all over the West Bank
GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033
While visibly to the world helicopter gunships are bombing Gaza, another wave of destruction goes on nearly unnoticed.
Palestinian homes are being systematically bulldozed all over the West Bank. In this case there isn't any pretence of "security interests" or "military targets". The houses destroyed yesterday and today belong to ordinary Palestinian citizens whose only crime is the wish to have a roof over their heads.
We just now hear of Rabbi Arik Asherman's being arrested while trying to resist the 4th demolition of the Shawamreh house. Salim Shawamreh and his family at Anata already had their home destroyed three times and always rebuilt with the help of Israeli peace activists. (Salim Shawamreh also went on a speaking tour with Jeff Halper in the U.S. to explain the question of the so-called "illegal Palestinian houses.") After a warning this morning , activists of ICAHD (committee Against House Demolitions) hurried to Anata. Among them was Rabbi Arik Asherman of Rabbis for Human Rights who got arrested while trying to block the way of an enormous bulldozer.
We again call upon you to send your protest. (See sample message in the end), but this should not be all. We have to act also visibly. Actions of resistance and protest in Israel/Palestine should be accompanied by immediate protests and pickets at Israeli Embassies or Consulates. (You may try also to flood these institutions with your questions and protest messages, by phone, by regular mail, by fax and email.)
The miltary government's long-standing policy is to restrict Palestinian construction to small enclaves, and to deny building permits to Palestinians whose land happens to be located outside these overcrowded designated areas ("ghettos" you could call them). Under Barak, the destruction of such "illegal" houses was stopped - after pressure from below and internationally.
This restriction has now been removed, and the miltary authorities gleefully embarked on a major wave of destruction. Yesterday, four houses were destroyed at Issawiya, just outside Jerusalem. As already mentioned, this morning we heard of four houses destroyed at Anata, another Palestinian suburb of Jerusalem followed by another two demolitions at Issawiya. Just now we heard of four houses destroyed in the Hebron area, between the settlement of Kiryat Arba and its offshoot enclave of Giv'at Haharsina. (The settlers have wanted to "get rid" of these Arab houses, which prevent the creation of a settler "territorial continuity".) Cynically, all this took place at the same time that Foreign Minister Peres held a highly-publicized meeting with Palestinian officials at Athens, concerned with "ending violence" and "ameliorating the civilian population's situation"...
The issue of this barbaric wave of house demolitions will be included in an already-scheduled vigil, which will take place today at 5.00 PM outside the Defence Ministry in Tel-Aviv. (The original slogans were "Bring back the soldiers" and "Evacuate Hebron now").
----- addresses + sample message which you may or may not want to use for your own letter.
To Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ,
To Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Minister of Defense,
To Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister
copy to some Labour and Meretz Knesset Members firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, blind copy to: Gush Shalom , Rabbis for Human Rights ,ICAHD
To the responsible government ministers
You may have thought that it would remain unnoticed that Palestinian homes are being systematically bulldozed all over the West Bank. Without even the pretence of "security interests" or "military targets" you try quickly to implement a policy aimed at keeping West Bank Palestinians locked in small and overcrowded enclaves. The houses destroyed yesterday and today at Issawiyah, Anata and near Hebron belong to ordinary Palestinian citizens whose only crime is the wish to have a roof over their heads. The 34-year Israeli occupation never provided any housing plans to fulfill their basic needs, while erecting tens of thousands of housing units for Israeli settlers - even denying the Palestinians a permit to build at their own expence, on their own land.
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