Shady and his father in front of their home2-3.jpeg

Rebuilding to Remain:
Affordable home construction in Palestine's Area C

Summary

Seeking to live on the land they own, fifteen families are building houses with village-issued building permits in the Palestinian village of Al Aqaba in the West Bank's Area C. They invested all they have and need additional funds to finish, as well as international advocacy to assure their homes remain standing. Rebuilding to Remain will provide affordable loans to finish the homes and to expand our successful advocacy. Repaid loans will be re-lent to other families to build homes and hope.

Problem

In Area C, the 62% of the West Bank controlled entirely by Israel, Palestinians must obtain Israeli-approved master plans and building permits or risk demolition. However, these are nearly impossible to acquire - less than 3% were approved in 6 years. Under international law, Palestinian villages deserve the right to plan their future, just like communities everywhere. After 50 years of occupation, villagers ask your help to move forward peacefully because having a home and a job cannot wait.

Solution

With your help we will provide loans to Palestinian villagers starting in Al Aqaba and increase our advocacy to keep homes standing. In 2012, Rebuilding Alliance helped Al Aqaba design & build their first 3 homes then more families built. All are safe and standing. A Palestinian bank is finalizing agreement with Rebuilding Alliance to coinvest to make affordable construction loans as we increase grassroots & diplomatic advocacy to prevent demolition and recognize Al Aqaba's right to plan & build

Long-term impact

Al Aqaba is a model of peace in a troubled part of the world. The measure of stability provided by new construction job opportunities and new homes supports this work of peace. With your help to launch this lending/advocacy program, Rebuilding to Remain will provide affordable financing to meet the housing needs of the 150,000 Palestinians who live in Area C, recognizing human rights and building socio-economic security by providing Palestinians with the means to build and determine their future

History

Al Aqaba, a little Palestinian village in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is made up of families who have lived and worked their land for generations. Even though they own clear and undisputed title to their land, 97% of this Palestinian West Bank village is under demolition orders by the Israeli Army.  In 2003, soon after the High Court of Israel barred the Israeli Army from continuing to use the village as a live-fire training area, Al Aqaba's mayor, Haj Sami Sadeq, invited Rebuilding Alliance to visit. The displaced villagers longed to return home — they decided to start by building their kindergarten while saving money, registering their master plan, and applying for building permits to build their homes. The Israeli Army's Civil Administration denied their master plans (four so far).  In 2004, as we were building the kindergarten, the Israeli Civil Administration issued demolition orders for all the homes but two, the mosque, the medical clinic, and the kindergarten. In 2008, the High Court of Israel ruled that, "For the time-being, the center of the village will remain standing."  And with that, Al Aqaba's villagers pooled their savings and created their own credit union.

Rebuilding Alliance is proud to have helped the villagers design, finance, and build the first three Rebuilding to Remain homes for families returning home to the village of Al Aqaba! 

At risk of demolition, unable to rebuild

Although Palestinian Families have lived on this land for generations, refusal to approve Palestinian town plans or issue building permits is now policy in the 62% of the West Bank solely controlled by Israel. Although Israel refuses to issue these building permits, they simultaneously issue demolition orders against all structures built without legal permission. Thousands of families and their children are at risk of displacement due to demolition orders, which have historically never been reversed. Despite the risk, families are willing to invest their life savings to build new homes for their families and future generations. 

How does Rebuilding Alliance help?

Rebuilding Alliance approaches this problem from four unique perspectives, mobilizing the strength of a number of different networks to make the dream of new homes a reality:

  1. Village-centered design

  2. Precedent setting legal work
  3. Crowdsourced, Islamic-compliant mortgage financing
  4. World-wide advocacy

Villagers hope their homes will grow in love and value, give their town a future, and offer a neighborly model for peace.

Their success can end Israel's ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes and help meet the planning needs of the 150,000 Palestinians who live in the 62% of the West Bank now administered solely by Israel.

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