Thursday, December 6, 2007

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

After lunch at the Notre Dame Guesthouse on 5 December 2007, our delegation received a briefing by Angela Godfrey-Goldstein on a little-known aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Angela is an Israeli citizen who is passionate (and I mean passionate) about justice and peace, along with several other causes including environmental care and feminism. She champions a viable Palestine, and believes that international understanding and advocacy is essential to achieving peace. She is the Action Advocacy Officer for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

Angela took us on a three-hour tour of the southern and eastern environs of Jerusalem, in the West Bank, where Israeli settlers have colonised Palestinian land in a massive way. We saw several new settlements (illegal under Israeli and international law, as it is illegal for an occupying force to establish permanent settlements on occupied territory), the famous Security Barrier (ten-metre concrete wall in this area, but in some places it is an electrified fence with ditches and patrol roads), and some Palestinian homes demolished by the Jerusalem municipal authority (since it is virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits, and yet they go and build houses to live in anyway).

Betwee 1994 and 2006, 678 houses were demolished in East Jerusalem alone. About 18,000 homes have been demolished in Israel and Palesting since 1967. Many Palestinian homes and community buildings (including mosques) now have outstanding demolition orders and may be demolished randomly without further warning.

For more information see: