Three Palestinian sisters in their home just before it was demolished, al-Aqaba, the Jordan Valley, 2011. (Photo: flickr/frecklebaum)
Over the last 30 years, many Palestinian residents of al-Aqaba in the West Bank were kicked out of their homes when Israeli authorities turned their village lands in the Jordan Valley into a live-fire training zone. Only 300 Palestinians are left in their original houses, but 95% have demolition orders against them. Still, villagers who lost their homes decades ago are determined to re-build and return.
Defying the Israeli occupying authorities, the village has issued permits to build three new homes for three families on the original plots near the town’s multi-use three-story school, library and women’s sewing collective. The Rebuilding Alliance, a California based non-profit, is fundraising for the project spearheaded by a team of local engineers and the Palestinian architect Hani Hassan. Beginning last night at 11 o’clock EST, the Rebuilding Alliance pledged to match half the value of all donations made within a 24-hour period.
Executive director Donna Baranski-Walker’s pitch to help the Palestinians of al-Aqaba achieve their right of return:
In just a few hours time, Rebuilding to Remain in Palestine, goes into the Global Giving Match Day competition. The contest starts at 7:01 Jerusalem time (10:01 PM Chicago time). Help these first three courageous Palestinian families move into their new homes before Ramadan. Why courageous? 97% of the West Bank Jordan Valley Village of Al Aqaba is under demolition order.
To give, please click Rebuilding to Remain or just go to www.RebuildingAlliance.org and click GiveNow. Global Giving will match each donation by 50% (so high because “Rebuilding to Remain” now has “SuperStar” status) for amounts up to $1000. Please give early as GG’s $75,000 in matching funds will likely run out in the first few hours.
These Palestinian families are putting their life-savings into their new affordable, expandable homes but they cannot do this alone. They ask the world’s help to share the financial risk and join in pressing elected officials everywhere to recognize their building permits, issued by the Al Aqaba Village Council. Rebuilding Alliance, the sponsoring NGO, is advised to fly the flags of each donor’s country on the home and place a plaque too, as two weeks ago Israeli Army demolition bulldozers received new orders to avoid projects funded by foreign countries, with plaques on site.
Fly your country’s flag on a home in Al Aqaba Village! Please go to Rebuilding to Remain and make your donation.