From January 17-February 13, 2015 UNJPPI (United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, together with IJV (Independent Jewish Voices) organized a speaking tour across Canada for Jeff Halper, the founder and director of ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions). Jeff spoke in 15 communities in Canada, from St John’s, NFL to Vancouver Island, BC. The national speaking tour had several goals, including educating Canadians about the issues facing Palestinians and Israelis, in particular the Israeli policy of house demolition and updating everyone on the situation in Israel and Palestine, as well as raising money for the rebuilding of a Palestinian home that had been destroyed by the Israeli army. The tour brought together activists on a local and national level.
Since 1967, Israel has demolished more than 46,000 Palestinian homes and structures in the oPt (occupied Palestinian territory) of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem since 1967. This does not include Palestinian homes and structures in Israel, within the 1967 borders.
With so many demolitions, no can can begin rebuilding all the homes and structures that were destroyed by Israel. So ICAHD, together with a Palestinian team and Palestinian staffperson decide on which families to approach for rebuilding a home. Since the home chosen is rebuilt for political as well as humanitarian reasons, the family is made fully aware of the risks of having their home rebuilt–it may put them in conflict with the Israeli authorities and it may even be destroyed again.
Palestinian homes are demolished for a variety of reasons including: the Palestinian family does not have permission to build, however, a building permit is almost never granted; one or more of the children have been throwing stones at an Israeli jeep or at the Israeli soldiers, in which case the house demolition is a collective punishment; or Israel wants to confiscate the land for its own use.
While Jeff was on the speaking tour in Canada, enough money was raised to purchase materials to rebuild one Palestinian home. The rebuilding was done by Israelis, Palestinians, and Internationals, all who also contributed to the expenses of the workcamp.
Attached is the story–in pictures and words from Jeff–of the rebuilding of the Palestinian home, with the money raised during Jeff’s tour, called “The house that Canada built”.
UNJPPI co-coordinator for the tour.