Rachel Corrie was the heroic Jewish volunteer who was crushed to death in Rafah, Gaza, in March 2003 as she tried to prevent a bulldozer from demolishing a Palestinian home.
Her death brought shame on Israel and international condemnation followed. Her violent end also put a spotlight on the large number of home demolitions carried out by Israeli soldiers.
Now a huge wave of outrage is expected to erupt after a demolition notice was slapped on the property of Bait Arabiya, dedicated to American-born Rachel’s memory.
The property is home to Arabiya and Salim Shawamrah and their seven children who have watched Israelis demolish their house four times before.
Last Monday, Israel’s military administration in the Occupied Palestinian Territories issued a summons to destroy their home – built on privately-owned land – for a fifth time.
For many Palestinians, demolition
Israeli military vehicles have surrounded the property and are not allowing protesters to approach, according to information given to Aljazeera.net on Thursday.
But many are expected to turn up at 04:00am local time (01:00 GMT) to demonstrate against the demolition – as happened the last time the house was destroyed.
“There are probably only a few hours left, but it could be destroyed earlier as the Civil Administration tends to carry out these things very early in the morning.”
The official reason for demolition is there was no building permit.
But when contacted by Aljazeera.net, the Israel Defence Force Civil Administration and Central Command refused to comment on why four applications for building permits were all turned down.
Israeli volunteers for rebuilding
Rachel Corrie’s parents were
Rachel Corrie’s parents have arrived from the US for a visit, and have already visited Bait Arabiya, rebuilt by volunteers from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).
Craig and Cindy Corrie met Arabiya and Salim Shawamrah to give their sympathy and support.
The house has been built for the fifth time on the same scrap of land in Anata despite the fact that is was last destroyed as recently as August.
ICAHD Coordinator Jeff Halper said that after volunteers rebuilt the home, they dedicated it to the “memory of Rachel Corrie and Nuha Swaidan”.
Nuha Swaidan was a pregnant Palestinian woman who was also killed by a bulldozer during a house demolition in Gaza at the same time as Rachel.
The occupants of this home were
Since it was first demolished by the Israeli authorities five years ago, Bait Arabiya has become a symbol or resistance not only to occupation but to Israeli’s sustained campaign to displace Palestinians from their country altogether, said Halper.
Shawamrah applied for a building permit four times to build a home on land he had bought outright but each time he was refused for a different reason.
The Civil Administration ruled that Shawamrah had not filled in the right forms. Then he was told the area was listed as an “agricultural zone”. Next the land was “too steep” and finally his plot was deemed “too near” an Israeli highway.
Speaking to Aljazeera.net, the home owner said he would not submit to occupation, violence, threats, intimidation or impoverishment.
“My family has withstood successive demolitions and severe trauma, but by putting home demolitions on the international agenda we are in fact celebrating the courage and solidarity of many thousands of ordinary Palestinians,” said Shawamrah.
The Israeli demolition programme has caused such an international outrage that Shawamrah has been invited to tour America and highlight the plight of Palestinians.
There were mixed emotions as he headed for the airport and looked back on Bait Arabiya … knowing it will probably be razed to the ground.
Details of his speaking tour can be found at: www.icahd.org