Rebuilding to remain: Affordable home construction in Palestine's Area C
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 order by the Israeli Army. In 2003, soon after the High Court of Israeli 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 (4 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:
- Precedent setting legal work
- Crowdsourced, Islamic-compliant mortgage financing
- 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.