We are joined by 34 volunteers from all over the world, plus Palestinian and Israeli activists who will join us during the construction. Our first day began with a first-aid and nonviolent training session, followed by a walking tour of Anata to acquaint the volunteers with the town. We were greeted by the mayor and head of the local council, Abu Marouf. He explained to us the political situation in Anata, and then took us to the roof of the municipality to show us how Anata was surrounded and confined by the Separation Wall. On the other side of the wall, the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement was expanding.
Back in camp, after a lunch of makloubeh, the Palestinian national dish, we began work on the house: clearing the rubble, erecting the support columns for the roof, and pouring the concrete for the columns of the new house. Working in a chain gang became an expression of the group’s solidarity and comraderie. After just a couple hours most people had an interesting story, with everyone learning spatterings of Arabic (though a few of us do know some the language).
As we write this Salim, Arabiya, and Jeff Halper are beginning to tell the story of the home. Tomorrow: back to work. In two weeks we will pass the key to the family and help them move in. A truly meaningful act of resistance.
Over the next two weeks as we continue to rebuild Beit Arabiya and learn and explore the area, we will update our site with a little bit of information every day. The idea is that every participant will at some point contribute a paragraph or so about their experiences that day. We look forward to sharing what happens at our camp with you!
(Jeff Halper and Zach Resnick / www.icahd.org / 03.07.2012)