Campaign to Reconstruct Palestinian Demolished Homes Kick-Starts in West Bank

09 Feb
4:14 AM

Palestinians, on Monday, launched a campaign to raise funds for the reconstruction of several demolished family homes of Palestinians killed by Israeli police in Jerusalem, since the beginning of October, 2015.Donation boxes were placed on well-trodden streets in al-‘Izzariya, Bethlehem and Hebron to collect donations. Fundraising was expected to last until 5:00 p.m.

In al-‘Izzariya, a town to the east of Jerusalem, the fundraising was kick-started by a press conference held at Yasser Araft Square. The event was attended by Christian and Muslim clerics, most notably Greek Orthodox Bishop of Sebastia Theodosios (‘Atallah) Hanna, Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh ‘Ikrima Sabri, and Hatim ‘Abdul-Qader, who holds Fateh movement’s Jerusalem portfolio.

‘Ali ‘Ubeidat, a local activist who helped organize the fundraising activity, said, according to WAFA correspondence, that other donation boxes were placed in Ramallah, Tulkarem, Nablus and Salfit and noted that this campaign marked the culmination of a month-long work to mobilize grass-root support for the reconstruction of demolished houses.

Israeli bulldozers had demolished the houses of at least two families of Palestinians who killed Israelis, over the last four months, and handed over notifications to demolish others in Jerusalem.

On of such demolished houses belonged to al-‘Akkari family. In early December, Israeli troops demolished the family house of Ibrahim al-‘Akkari, 47, who was shot dead after he rammed his car into a light rail stop in Jerusalem in November 2014, killing two Israelis, including a police officer, and injuring 13 others.

In Bethlehem, two donation boxes were placed in Manger Square and the Cinema thoroughfare.

Munthir ‘Amireh, a local activist who helped kick-start the campaign, said that, although that the campaign seeks to raise funds, it has also a moral significance. It signifies popular solidarity with the families of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, and sends the message that they are entitled to live.

‘Amireh added that the campaign represents the unity of the Palestinian people and their commitment to the issue of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

He noted that 30 local activists would also collect donations from local businesses and stores.

Meanwhile, in Hebron, donation boxes were placed at the Child Happiness Center and the Ibn Rushd turnabout.

Speaking during a similar campaign concurrently launched in Hebron, the governor of Hebron, Kamel Hmaid, urged Palestinians to make donations and said that the campaign was motivated by national responsibility to reinforce the steadfastness of Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem.

Such campaigns have become common since Israel resorted to punitively demolish the family homes of any Palestinians – as means of deterrence – accused of being involved in attacks against Israeli settlers or military, a policy that Israel does not use against Israeli settlers who were involved in a staggering number of fatal attacks against Palestinians, by contrast.

This policy is widely condemned by human rights organizations as “collective punishment” and “a war crime, and a crime against humanity”.

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