Stop Demolitions, Build Peace

A campaign against annexation

J Street U’s Stop Demolitions Build Peace campaign (2017-2018) aimed to defend the two-state solution, oppose creeping annexation by the Israeli settlement movement and stand with vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

SDBP enabled our movement to build coalitions with progressive groups across college campuses that stand against home demolitions. We held teach-ins and political educational events that raised awareness about the constant threat of demolitions facing Palestinian communities and how demolitions contribute to a larger reality of creeping annexation.

Throughout the campaign, J Street U organized support for a congressional letter which called on Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to bring a halt to the ongoing demolition and evictions of Palestinian communities in the West Bank. The letter was sponsored by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congressman John Yarmuth and was ultimately signed by 76 members of Congress.

In November 2017, our advocacy played a central role in bringing international attention to imminent demolition orders against the villages of Susya and Khan al-Ahmar. Before the month was over, ten senators signed a letter organized by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Bernie Sanders stating unequivocal opposition to the demolition of those villages.

Community Partners

J Street U regions partnered directly with at-risk Palestinian communities throughout the campaign.

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Jabal al Baba

Partnered with J Street U campuses in the Northwest

E1

E1 is an area east of Jerusalem's municipal boundary where Israeli construction is particularly controversial, because it would box in parts of East Jerusalem expected to serve as a Palestinian capital as part of a final peace deal.

Jabal al Baba is located in E1, just between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem. The village is Bedouin, and its residents are part Catholic, part Muslim. They experienced 17 demolitions in the last year alone, including the demolition of their community’s school. Atallah, the community spokesperson, works extensively with international organizations based in Europe. The school, along with several other structures, were funded and constructed with the help of international organizations. The community has adopted somewhat of a slogan vis-à-vis international audiences of “We Shall Remain.”

Um al Khair

Partnered with J Street U campuses in the Southwest

Um al Khair is located in the South Hebron Hills, adjacent to the settlement of Carmel. The community experiences continual harassment from the neighboring settlers, including de-facto land grabs, in which the settlers will build a fence at night that cuts into Um al Khair’s land. Many of the village’s structures have demolition orders, and several have been demolished in recent years. They have several internationally-funded structures, including a community center and playground. The Center for Jewish Nonviolence has acted in support of Um al Khair in the past. The community has English-speaking residents who function as spokespeople for the community.

Susya

Partnered with J Street U campuses in the Midwest

We have a long history and relationship with Susya. This village has the largest public profile in the United States, and is the village around which we’ve organized past campaigns. Susya submitted a proposed Master Plan which, if accepted, would constitute an official recognition by the state of Susya’s legitimacy, and would pave a path for building permits. The courts have told the State it must decide whether or not to accept Susya’s Master Plan (and negotiate the details of it) by November 14. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had publicly stated he plans on evacuating the village (likely due to significant Regavim pressure). International governments’ pressure have so far prevented the evacuation.

Abu Nuwar

Partnered with J Street U campuses in the Northeast

Abu Nuwar is located in E1, near Jabal al Baba. It is adjacent to Maale Adumim and near the settlement of Kedar. It is the largest Bedouin village of the area, with about 115 families/600 residents. The village has many demolition orders for its structures. The village had  kindergarden, and an elementary school built with the help of the EU and several European NGO’s. There were solar panels installed to fuel the school with electricity. Those solar panels were confiscated by the Civil Administration. The EU countries who funded the placement of those solar panels are now asking for compensation from the Israeli government for the value of the removed solar panels.

Khan al Ahmar

Partnered with J Street U campuses in the Mid-Atlantic

Khan al Ahmar is a Bedouin village located located between the settlements of Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. The village has a school that was built in 2009 with help from European organizations and from the EU. The leader of the community is named Abu Hamis. The sense is that Khan al Ahmar, due to the leadership of Abu Hamis, is leading the fight for legitimacy and against demolition, not only for themselves but also for all 22 other surrounding Bedouin communities. Settlers, therefore, have made an example out of Khan al Ahmar by continually petitioning the court to go through with demolitions in the village. The village’s lawyer, Shlomo Lecker, continuously fights these petitions. Avigdor Lieberman has made it known he’d like to evacuate the village and move the community elsewhere.

Jubbet ad-Dhib

Partnered with J Street U campuses in the Southeast

Jubbet ad-Dhib is located southeast of Bethlehem, and neighbors the settlements of Kfar Eldad, Nokdim and Maale Rehavim, and sits at the bottom of Mount Herodian, a Jewish archeological site. This past summer Jubbet ad-Dhib’s locally-built school was demolished the night before school was supposed to begin. J Street U participated in the public reaction to this incident. Additionally, the village’s solar panels – provided for with Dutch government funding – were confiscated. The Dutch government applied serious back-channel pressure on the Israelis and eventually were successful in getting back the solar panels. There is a local Women’s Council that is active and responsible for all improvements that have been made in the village in recent months/years.

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