Whether it is in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, or Givat Hamatos, efforts to expel Palestinians from their homes are often painted as mere real estate disputes. The reality is that they are part of a larger effort to change the demographics of Jerusalem as a way to prevent Palestinian claims to a capital in East Jerusalem and to undermine the future of a negotiated two-state solution.
Al-Walaja is over the Green Line, just west of Bethlehem. In the 1948 war, the villagers of al-Walaja were uprooted, and in the early 1950s Israel demolished its homes. Al-Walaja lost approximately 70% of its land. Beginning in 1949, some of the displaced villagers resettled on the remaining 30% of their land which was on the Jordanian side of the border, rebuilding the village and beginning their lives again. Recently a large area of Al-Walaja’s agricultural lands were turned into a National Park by Israeli authorities even though there are no conflicting ownership claims to these homes.
Like too many other Palestinian villages, Al-Walaja has been denied a zoning plan since 1967 –resulting in the inability of residents to obtain zoning permits. Now the homes of 38 families are at risk, and, while legal appeals have delayed the execution of the demolition orders for these homes the appeals are scheduled to go before the Israeli Supreme Court on March 30, 2022.
We must act now to help prevent the demolition of 38 homes and the subsequent expulsion of approximately 300 people.
This action closed on Friday, March 18
Read the full text of the letter here.