Al Aqaba Celebrates recent Court decision
Over the past six months, Rebuilding Alliance has engaged in remarkable advocacy on some of Palestine’s most pressing issues:
- Great news from Al Aqaba! This week our strategic advocacy paid off: In Al Aqaba Village’s appeal before the High Court, the Israeli Army backtracked on their 96-hour demolition order against two homes and a road. We’ve never seen this happen before. The village won, the families will continue to live in their homes — and the Court requires the Army’s Commander to reevaluate the boundary of Firing Zone 900 in response to the Village’s request.
- RA launched a new campaign, ‘Ensure Americans Fair Entry to Palestine’ in response to the Israeli military’s new entry procedures for foreigners. Congressman Don Beyer and his staff
turned to RA to write the final version of a widely publicized letter to Secretary of State Blinken, signed by 19 other Representatives.
- In an emergency Zoom briefing to Congressional offices during the lockdown of Nablus, RA brought the U.N.’s Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Palestine to explain what is happening — then UNOCHA joined a special Zoom Forum for Constituents with speakers from Yesh Din and Al Haq.
20 years of advocacy and a remarkable ‘Rebuilding to Remain’ program paid off in a big way in Al Aqaba. On November 8th the High Court issued a ruling that keeps families in their homes. In October, knowing the decision was coming soon, Rebuilding Alliance held a Virtual Walk-Through of Al Aqaba Village for Hill staffers and constituents to ask for Congressional intervention.The audience was guided by some of Al Aqaba’s teens on a walking tour through the village and to one of the family homes facing demolition orders. That family and their home are now in the clear. The teens showed constituents and Congressional Staff what makes Al Aqaba so special, and also described the challenges of living in an Israeli Military Firing Zone. Their voices were heard, and they are safer as a result.
Since August, the Advocacy Team at RA has also been hard at work on a new campaign: Ensure Americans Fair Entry to Palestine. In response to the Government of Israel codifying a set of discriminatory procedures that will restrict American access to the West Bank, this campaign, in partnership with the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine (AFRP), engaged over 50 Congressional Offices in Contact Congress briefings. We asked Congress to ensure that Americans would be treated fairly and equally when entering the West Bank, and for the State Department to assist Americans facing discrimination. RA endorsed Congressman Don Beyer’s letter to the Secretary of State, and the Congressman and his staff turned to RA to write the final version.
The month of October saw a startling increase of violence in the West Bank, leading the United Nations to make the alarming statement that 2022 was already the deadliest year for West Bank Palestinians in over 15 years. The Israeli Military launched repeated incursions into the West Bank, bringing widespread violence and loss of life. Entire Palestinian villages, towns and communities became the victims of collective punishment, being entirely closed off from the rest of the West Bank, which brought incredible suffering across the board and resulted in a humanitarian disaster.
In response to this crisis, Rebuilding Alliance RA organized an emergency Zoom Webinar with the U.N., first for Congressional staff, then 2 days later for constituents. This was the first time the U.N. joined us for Contact Congress briefings, and we were honored to host the acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the West Bank and the acting head of UNOCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt).
The briefing for constituents also presented the opportunity to feature Yesh Din: Volunteers for Human Rights and Al-Haq. Including Al-Haq was especially important, as Rebuilding Alliance continues to #StandWithTheSix. RA urged Congress to intervene, in a positive way, and to call for calm in the West Bank. RA’s work to engage Congress to intervene is all the more necessary now, with the recent Israeli elections bringing the far right back into power.
Rebuilding Alliance continues to advocate for entire villages and communities, seeking intervention from Congress to prevent evictions and demolitions throughout Palestine. RA needs your help to keep responding during this time of crisis. In 2023, we aim to:
- Launch a Leadership Learning Zoom Forum series, a constituent focused approach to our advocacy campaigns
- Publish a monthly newsletter on advocacy issues
- Hold Contact Congress briefings for more neighborhoods facing demolition including the Bustan, al Araqib, and Khan al Ahmar, and begin the in-depth research needed for many more — while continuing campaigns in Al Aqaba, Susiya, E.Jeruslem, and Masafer Yatta
- Ask teens to lead virtual walk-throughs in their neighborhoods to bring their voices to Congress and press for intervention
- Launch a 2023 Olive Cultivation and Harvest Campaign
- Intervene on a case by case basis for children who have been arrested
As we head towards the end of 2022, RA remains unceasingly committed to advocating for equal rights, safety, and justice for Palestinian Communtites. We greatly appreciate your support!
Donna and the RA Advocacy Team
RA and Holy Land Trust met Masafer Yatta Leaders