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At-Home with Gila Svirsky
4 April 2001
Subject: Again, until she learns: Lena Doesnt Live Here Anymore
Wednesday, April 4, 2001
House of Peace Demolished for Third Time
The re-built home of the Shawamreh family in Anata was demolished this morning for the third time by bulldozers of Israels Civil Administration in the Occupied Territories. Although two Israeli peace activists, Jeff Halper of the Committee Against Home Demolitions and Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights, parked their car in the path of destruction and sat down in front of the bulldozers, the army removed them forcibly, moved the car, and then plowed through the home, garden, and water tanks, plowing up the foundations as well, to ensure that the home could not be rebuilt yet again. Rabbi Asherman was arrested.
This demolition was the fourth of the morning in the town of Anata three Bedouin houses were bulldozed into rubble prior to the Shawamreh home and the driver reported they were on their way to demolish two more homes in the town of Issawiye. Both Palestinian towns are in close proximity to Jerusalem. The stepping up of demolitions by the Civil Administration 11 homes were destroyed in the past two days suggests the determination of the authorities to assert absolute control over life in the territories through intimidation of the Palestinian residents, in addition to escalating the warfare.
The Shawamreh home had become the poster child of the movement to end demolitions, due to speaking tours in North America by Halper with Salim Shawamreh, the owner, in which they advocated an end to the violence and a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Extensive circulation of the story Lena Doesn't Live Here Anymore, about the teenage daughter who witnessed her home being destroyed had also publicized the severity of the issue.
The Shawamreh home has been repeatedly destroyed by the army and rebuilt by a coalition of Israeli, Palestinian, and international peace activists. The first demolition, witnessed by activists, took place in July 1998. Within two months the home was rebuilt, but the authorities demolished it the day after the construction was complete, in August 1998. It took time for the family to find the strength to rebuild their home yet again and risk another demolition, but finally they agreed and, at the second rebuilding, completed in July 1999, the house was dedicated House of Peace in Arabic, Hebrew, and English.
After the demolition today, nothing was left of the House of Peace sign that had been hanging on the front door.
For further information:
Jeff Halper, Committee Against Home Demolitions (050) 651-425.
10 July 1998 Lena Doesnt Live Here Anymore 2 August 1998 Lenas New Home...Destroyed 9 July 1999 A Housewarming for Peace
Letters from Jerusalem, 2001
Letters from Jerusalem, 2002
Letters from Jerusalem, 2003
New & recent letters from Jerusalem (2004)
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