ICAHD-USA is committed to educating the American public about the Israeli government’s policy of house demolitions and the reality of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. ICAHD-USA acts to bring about positive change for both Israelis and Palestinians.
The ICAHD Summer Camp in Israel/Palestine
ICAHD-USA continues to support the annual ICAHD Summer Rebuilding Experience where activists from around the world gather to rebuild a Palestinian home and learn first-hand about the “facts on the ground” of 40-plus years of Occupation. The Summer Rebuilding program includes presentations from key organizations, artists, activists and intellectuals working for a just peace in Palestine and Israel; films and other cultural works focusing on various aspects of the conflict; and tours to several locations within the Occupied Territories, including parts of Jerusalem, and to cities in Israel. For further information regarding this experience, please contact ICAHD-USA’s Summer Camp Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org and in the UK contact: email@example.com
ICAHD–USA offers well-informed and thought-provoking speakers who bring their direct experience in the Occupied Territories to your audience. People from Israel and the U.S. are available for workshops, conferences, universities, synagogues, churches and other venues where people seek a better understanding of what is happening on the ground. Speakers constantly update presentations to reflect the rapidly changing events in the region and meet the needs of varied audiences. If you would like more information about our speakers, select “Speaker’s Bureau” under Interest Area on our Join Us page.
The Constructing Peace Campaign
Officially launched on June 11, 2007, the 40th anniversary of Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the Constructing Peace Campaign was created in order educate Americans about Israel’s inhumane policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and to raise funds to rebuild every Palestinian home demolished during that year. The policy of destroying these homes is not part of a viable peace process, but rather part of a strategy to make room for more Israeli settlers, to clear space for a ‘separation’ wall between Israelis and Palestinians, to build a dense network of Israeli-only bypass roads and as a means of “thinning” the Palestinian population. As olive trees are uprooted and access to basic services is denied, the message is clear: Palestinians are not wanted; they cannot even claim the right to shelter. This is the reality of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land that the Constructing Peace Campaign was designed to highlight, address and remedy. Our goal was to effectively represent the human situation of Palestinians, to act in solidarity with those affected by these cruel and hostile policies and to do something material to support those whose homes have been demolished.
The story of each Palestinian family and the destruction of their homes is unique, but the overall pattern was and remains distressingly familiar. People with longstanding ties to the land could not get permits from the Israeli government to build a house or expand on their own land. They built anyway so they could have basic shelter. Then, without warning, Israeli forces arrived to bulldoze their houses. And, to add insult to injury, often they were stuck with huge bills for the costs associated with the demolition of their own living quarters.
In response, ICAHD and ICAHD-USA rebuilt 63 homes (in Hebron, Ramallah and in and around East Jerusalem), provided building material for 25 homes and 15 living areas for Bedouin in the Negev and helped rebuild a bridge in Ramadin (in the South Hebron Hills). Almost all of these structures are still standing.
There is, of course, still more work to be done to end the Occupation and move toward a just resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. We believe that the Constructing Peace Campaign played an important role in moving this process forward — by humanizing the daily realities of living under Occupation, by providing on the ground, person-to-person solidarity and by developing an alternative model of cooperation between Israelis, Palestinians and others truly interested in a just and peaceful future for all residents of the region. ICAHD-USA continues to be dedicated to finding effective and creative ways to carry out this important work. If there is to be any hope for peace in the region, this violation of human rights and human dignity must end. Construction, not destruction, is one meaningful step towards a just and viable peace.