There can be no worse feeling that seeing your home being demolished — and when that demolition is simply an act of state-sponsored vandalism, it is truly heartbreaking. For many Palestinians families living in an occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood, that fate is what they have endured these past days as Israeli work crews set about bringing down their houses.
These Palestinian families have committed no crime, but they are guilty in the eyes of the occupation administration of living in homes that are too close for Israeli comfort to the illegal separation barrier they constructed in their efforts to subjugate, coerce and intimidate these residents.
The homes are located in the occupied West Bank and their construction was fully legal and complied with the planning and regulations of the West Bank Authority, and given construction permits. But as every Palestinian knows all too well, their Israeli occupiers are a law onto themselves.
Earlier this month, Israel’s supreme court ruled that the demolitions could go ahead. As if indeed that’s a surprise — when has there ever been justice for any Palestinian? Israel has a long history of flouting international law and legal conventions, making up its own rules to serve its own interests in stealing land and attempting to break the will of the people. The United Nations has condemned the demolitions, so too any and every organisation or nation that stands with the people of Palestine in their quest for freedom and justice.
The United Nations has condemned the demolitions, so too any and every organisation or nation that stands with the people of Palestine in their quest for freedom and justice.
These demolitions exude the arrogance and high-handedness of an occupier who is emboldened by an endorsement from Washington that has wrongly named occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and these acts are an evitable consequence of such folly. And they are as legally spurious as the capital’s recognition itself.
In many ways, there is a far greater principle at work here. For all of their folly and determination to impose their rules on Palestinians, the Israelis have failed to understand the very nature of the Palestinian struggle itself. Every act has a consequence. And the act of physically knocking down a house builds a far stronger opposition to those who occupy.
Houses are but bricks and mortar, tiles and materials. As with every family who still carries the keys of their homes lost in the Nakba seven decades ago, there will come a day when the house that Israel builds will be destroyed. The foundations of Palestinians justice can never be shaken.