Spain helping to rebuild illegal homes


The Spanish government is paying for 42 people to come here and help rebuild two Palestinian homes that Israel deemed illegal and tore down in Anata in northeast Jerusalem, according to the director of the organization in charge of the project.

Participants in the ...

Participants in the ‘rebuilding camp’ in northeast Jerusalem that is being funded by the Spanish government.
Photo: Courtesy of ICAHD


Jeff Halper, the director of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), which is holding its seventh annual summer “rebuilding camp,” said volunteers from all over Europe, Latin America, Spain, the United States, South Africa, Asia, and Australia are currently in the country to rebuild two homes demolished in Anata.

“In particular, there are about 42 people from Spain in the camp, and the Spanish government is funding the camp again this year. They have paid for the 42 tickets of young people to come to the work camp, so that is pretty interesting that governments are starting to encourage people to come and resist the occupation,” Halper told The Jerusalem Post.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry’s agency for international development cooperation, Aecid, allocated some €80,000 in 2009 to ICAHD. In addition, it allocated €80,000 this year for Breaking the Silence, €100,000 for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and has promised to allocate €70,000 for Rabbis for Human Rights.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev slammed the involvement of European governments in the Anata project.

“Europe believes in peace and reconciliation, in a two-state solution with a non-violent path to that solution,” he said. “It would indeed be strange if European money were going to an NGO headed by an individual who both rejects a two-state solution, and who justifies terrorism.”

Participants in the ...

Participants in the ‘rebuilding camp’ in northeast Jerusalem
Photo: Courtesy of ICAHD


Regev was referring to past comments and writings by Halper, a veteran activist on the extreme Left.

One Israeli-based Spanish diplomat, who did not know the details of the camp, had no comment on the matter

He said that while there were discussions with Israel following Jerusalem Post revelations last month that Spain was helping to fund Breaking the Silence, Spain did not receive any formal request from Israel to stop funding that organization or any other NGO. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who did not know about the ICAHD summer camp, said that Israel respected “all countries, especially democracies, and we expect them to respect us.

“Israel is a very strong democracy, with a democratic tradition – a strong one – with the rule of law and independence of the judicial branch. NGOs are entitled to have their agendas, but when they cross the line into domestic issues, into internal political issues, it is a dangerous line.”

According to Halper, some 80 volunteers are helping rebuild the two homes, which were demolished for not having the necessary building permits. The homes belonged to the families of Younes Muhammad Abdalla Sbaih and Saleh Nimer Abed-Ajwad.

Halper said that 60 volunteers were sleeping at the site during the two-week “camp.”

Over the past 10 years, ICAHD has rebuilt more than 160 homes throughout the West Bank and east Jerusalem.




Meanwhile, this just in from the Hanoun family….
A Letter to the Israeli People from Maher Hanoun from Sheikh Jarrah
I am appealing to you as an Israeli citizen:

When your government denied my family our rights in the past, many ordinary Israelis did not look away. Instead, they stood with us. They showed us that Israelis are able to look past our differences and stand up for what is right.

I call on the Israeli people once again to help.

Early on Sunday August 2nd, more than 200 armed police smashed our windows, barged into our house and threw us out. They said we were living in the house illegally because Jews owned the land upon which our homes were built- over a hundred years ago. But, immediately after we were forced out, extremist settlers took over and occupied our home. They are still there now.

My wife, children and I have spent the past seven days and nights in the streets, and there is no end for us in sight. Overnight, we were made homeless. I hope you can help us seek the justice denied to us.

Israel calls itself a democracy. If so, the government is answerable to you, the Israeli people.

My family`s situation is not an isolated case. Stories like ours are being played out all the time in Jerusalem and will continue. It is being perpetuated by the government of Israel in your name, in the name of the Israeli people, against UN resolutions and international law.

Please, stand with us again in our time of need, and help my family and I and those like us, to get our homes back.

We need your support. With each new day spent in the streets, our time is running out. Please stop the Israeli governmment from abusing us in Sheikh Jarrah in your name.

Maher Hannoun,
Sheikh Jarrah,

For more information, please call +972 (0)505 277896 or

If evicting ordinary people and taking over their homes on the basis of race is NOT what you voted for the government that represents you to do, demand that they stop.

Please pass this message along, and come visit us in Sheikh Jarrah to hear our story.


Event: a candlelight vigil for the Hannouns and the Gawis
Time: August 10, 2009, Monday, 20:00
Where: Sheikh Jarrah, meeting at the Petrol Station

Come join us. Call your friends. Bring a candle. The Hannouns need your support.

For more information, please go to If you cannot come, sign the petition to show your support online instead!


It`s easy.

To get here from the old city, exit DAMASCUS GATE and go down NABLUS ROAD .

Keep following this road till you pass the AMERICAN COLONY HOTEL.

You will see a mosque. Across the street from the mosque is a petrol station. The petrol station will be our gathering spot.

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