REBUILDING BEIT ARABIYA:
ICAHD’S 2013 SUMMER REBUILDING CAMP
11 – 26 AUGUST 2013
ICAHD invites international volunteers to join in solidarity during the 2013 ICAHD summer rebuilding camp. For the past decade hundreds of activists have participated in the camp, working side by side with Palestinians and Israelis to rebuild Palestinian homes demolished by Israel as political acts of resistance.
Video - ICAHD Summer Rebuilding Camp 2012
This year the camp will be held between 11 August - 26 August 2013.
From August 11- 26 the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) will be hosting its 11th annual camp in which we rebuild Palestinian homes demolished by Israel. These political acts of resistance, in which Israelis, Palestinians and volunteers from abroad have so far rebuilt 186 homes, constitute one of the most powerful and meaningful ways we can stand in solidarity with Palestinian families.
Normally we rebuild entire houses out of the ruins we find, and after two weeks of working together, eating together and living together, the families are given the keys to their new homes and helped to move in. This year our camp will be somewhat different. The home of Arabiya and Salim Shawamreh has become the “flagship” home of ICAHD. It was the first home Israeli activists saw demolished, back in 1998, which also marked the first time ICAHD actually resisted a demolition. Beit Arabiya, “Arabiya’s home” as it has become known, was the first Palestinian home we rebuilt, and every year it has served as the base of our summer camps. The Israeli authorities subsequently banned the family from living in the home, threatening to revoke their Jerusalem residency, so over the years it has become a place where hundreds of tour groups meet the Shawamrehs and hear their story, and where Palestinians and Israelis meet to strategize.
But Salim and Arabiya have paid a steep price for their resistance. Their home has been demolished six times, the last time just five months ago, the second time it was demolished in 2012. Since we will not abandon the family, building at Beit Arabiya continues our resistance efforts thus ICAHD has rebuilt the home each time. It is clear, however, that it is being targeted by the Israeli authorities. Rather than invest the effort and funds in rebuilding it yet again, we have decided to rebuild this year in another way. Leaving the ruins of the demolished home intact, we will turn Beit Arabiya into a site of remembrance for home demolition and displacement. Rather than invest the effort and funds in rebuilding it yet again, we have decided to rebuild this year in another way. Leaving the ruins of the demolished home intact, we will turn Beit Arabiya into a site of remembrance for home demolition and displacement. Rather than rebuilding the entire home, we will build a meeting room, put in a rock garden where groups can meet (except the “rocks” will instead be pieces of demolished homes), erect strong tents in which we will display exhibits on the theme of home demolitions (including our documentation of the demolition of each of Arabiya and Salim’s homes) and replace the demolished infrastructure. In the end the family will be left with a facility they can turn into a home when that possibility exists but which they can use to tell their story and ICAHD will have a site where occupation, dispossession and demolition can be showcased for visiting groups and political programs conducted.
This year, then, although we will be rebuilding Beit Arabiya, it will be not as a home per se but as a site for meetings, exhibits, performances and remembrance – a site that will continue to serve as a powerful symbol of resistance. We will still need hands to build. And the rebuilding will continue to be accompanied by field trips around the country, meetings with local activists and strategizing on advocacy back home. Indeed, the theme of the field trips will be “The Many Faces of Resistance.” So join us!
Accommodations at the camp are basic but a wonderful group spirit makes it all comfortable and functioning. Participants will sleep in tents on the site of Beit Arabiya, served by portable toilets and shower blocks. In the communal area where group meetings are held traditional home-cooked Palestinian food will be provided by Arabiya Shawamreh, as she and her husband Salim host the camp’s guests along with ICAHD staff. For a sense of what the camp is like, visit http://www.icahd.org/rebuilding-camps; don’t miss the 4-minute time-lapse of last year’s rebuilding.
The fee for the 2013 camp is $1750 USA per person ($1250 for university students or young people whose applications demonstrate a willingness to represent ICAHD on campus). The fee, which is used to cover the purchase of construction materials and the expenses of the camp, includes:
- Three full meals a day and beverages between meals (except during three free evenings)
- All field trips and the educational programme
- ICAHD materials/resources
Not included in the fee are:
- Airfare and transfer to and from Jerusalem before the start of the camp and return to the airport at the end of the camp
- Meals during free time
- Personal spending money
If you feel to old or tired or busy to participate (though we have had 80 year olds leading the way), you are welcome to provide a “scholarship” that will permit a young person, or someone with limited means, to join.
If you’re interested in joining us this summer, or want additional information, please contact:
For the USA and Canada: Salena Tramel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For the UK and European countries: <email@example.com>
For Norway: Silje Ryvold <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For Finland: Bruno Jantti <email@example.com>
For the rest of the world: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Please take a look at this short clip about past ICAHD Summer Rebuilding Camp