International, Israeli Activists Help Rebuild Qawawis and Im-Neizil

10 March 2007

Just over three weeks ago, the Israeli Army demolished 4 homes using the premise that they were ‘new structures’. This weekend, international and Israeli activists, along with Palestinians from PSP, joined the people of Qawawis in rebuilding their homes. Two large busloads of Israeli and international activists organized by Rabbis for Human Rights and Ta’ayush Movement came from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to Qawawis and Im-Neizil. The activists filled gaps in the stone homes, mixed concrete, and helped put on new roofs.

Over four years ago the small community of Qawawis in the South Hebron Hills was forced from their underground homes by violent settlers who attacked them in their sleep, poisoned their wells and livestock and covered the entrances to their homes with rubble. The people of Qawawis, only 5 extended families, left the area but filed a court case in the Israeli Supreme Court demanding that they be allowed to return to their homes on land that was rightfully theirs. In a rare decision, the Israeli Supreme Court agreed that the land belonged to the Palestinians and that they should be allowed to return and be free from settler attacks. In this area of Palestine, the only “law enforcement” is the Israeli army, so it was to them that the people of Qawawis turned for protection. The Supreme Court decision, however, had a significant ‘catch’: the people of Qawawis could return to their homes but could not build any new structures on their land. It was discovered that the Israeli army wanted the land for a new ‘training area’.

The small communities in the South Hebron Hills have been under constant attack by settlers for years now and always welcome international human rights observers to stay with them in solidarity.