“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Houses are never just houses. A house is always a home to a family. So every house demolition, destroys a home that belongs to a family.
According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICHD) since 1967 about 24.813 houses in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem have been demolished. Most of these demolitions are so-called ‘administrative demolitions’. Meaning the houses have been built without a permit. It is very important to mention that it is almost impossible under Israeli law for Palestinians living under occupation to build a house with a legal permit.1
A few days ago we visited Far’un a village in the Tulkarm governorate, situated close to the wall. In 2006 seven houses were demolished in Far’un by Israeli authorities. Currently two houses are under similar threats to be demolished. The families living in these houses are trying to stop the demolitions in the courts, but the chances of winning the cases are minimal. On the 10th of July 2012 the temporary stop-demolition orders will expire. Therefore from that date onward bulldozers can arrive at any time and destroy these homes.
One of the two houses is owned by Bassam S. H. Solayman. He built their house in 1998 and lives in it together with his wife and their three children. Just 3 weeks ago they received a final demolition notification from the Israeli authorities.
According to Bassam the Israeli military court argues that the house is built on agricultural land, but he informs us that the land is not suitable for farming. Local villagers speculate that a re-routing of the wall to the further detriment of the Palestinian people might occur if these houses near to the wall are demolished.
After Bassam showed us his home and the demolition order he served us tea with mint from the garden in the shade in front of the house. There are no words.
1 http://www.icahd.org/?page_id=5508 (07th July 2012)