Beit Arabiya is the name of the home of Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh, a family of nine whose home has been demolished four times.
Any day now, the Civil Administration,
The Shawamreh home in the
Hundreds of volunteers — Palestinians, Israelis and internationals — organized by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and the Palestinian Land Defense Committee (LDC), have repeatedly come together to rebuild a home made for peace. The Beit Arabyia Peace Home, has become a meeting place for Israelis, Palestinian and International peace activists situated at the cornerstone and intersecting point of Areas A, B, and C.
Under the Oslo Agreements,
Area B – The area consists of 23.8% of the
Area C – This area consists of 59% of the Occupied West Bank.
The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids an Occupying Power to extend its law and administration to an occupied territory, rendering the very process of granting or denying permits to Palestinians, not to mention
Resigned to the reality that the Israeli courts do not admit international law, the Shawamrehs’ lawyers raised the illegality of applying a plan, RJ-5, that had never been revised over the past 65 years despite significant changes in demography and land use, including the construction of some 300 settlements, themselves illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which the Israeli government approved on the very same land that had been designated agricultural and on which the Shawamrehs and thousands of Palestinian families had been denied their fundamental right to housing.
Finally, the illegality of repeatedly demolishing the Shawamreh home under the original “perpetual” demolition order was questioned, especially since such a practice is illegal in
On a hill in front of the Arabyia Home/Peace Center is the newly erected Sheen Bet (similar to USA FBI) prison and interrogation center. A new portion of the Ring Road which will connect the illegal settlements/colonies runs between the two and The Apartheid Wall is in full frontal brutal view.
When this reporter visited in October 2006, the closest neighbor’s lived in a soon to be dismantled Bedouin camp. The Israeli government’s policy of “Quiet Transfer” is moving, [or already has] the indigenous nomadic Bedouins to a garbage dump which will lead to their extinction, for the Bedouins have been denied the freedom to move about and graze their herds.
Upon the wall of the
The Arabyia Home/Peace Center is also at the cornerstone of the Anata and the Shuafat refugee camp, in the very area where the prophet Jeremiah in the 6th century B.C. critiqued the violent conflicts in the Mid East, which were already old news: “I hear violence and destruction in the city, sickness and wounds are all I see.” (Jeremiah 6:7)
Mohammad Alatar, film producer of The Iron Wall spoke to my group of over one hundred internationals who broke bread and ate a typical Palestinian feast prepared by the Arabiya family: “I am a Muslim Palestinian American and when my son asked me who my hero was I took three days to think about it. I told him my hero is Jesus, because he took a stand and he died for it. What really needs to be done is for the churches to be like Jesus; to challenge the Israeli occupation and address the apartheid practices as moral issues. Even if every church divested and boycotted
Eileen Fleming has been to the OPT four times since June 2005. She is the reporter and editor of We Are Wide Awake. Her second book, Memoirs of a Nice Irish-American ‘Girl’s’ Life in