- Published on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 12:50
Saturday, June 9th, the South Hebron Hills village of Al Mufaqarah experienced its fourth consecutive week of hosting the R-Exist Campaign, organized the by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. Despite Israeli forces continually attempting to thwart the efforts of locals and Israeli, Palestinian and international volunteers in building homes for the cave dwelling community, the campaign continues.
Al Mufaqarah is home to approximately 150 Palestinians, who have made a living farming the land and raising sheep for over 200 years. The four adjacent Jewish settlements and outposts have created a particularly dire set of consequences for the rural village. Locals lack running water and electricity and have suffered from settler violence since the 1990’s when Israel began its attempts to annex the land. Last November, Israeli forces demolished several families’ homes, a cattle shed, a building that housed a generator and the village mosque.
The R-Exist Campaign has made the goal of building one house per week every Saturday, but the last two weeks have seen the incursion of the IOF and the Israeli District Coordination Office in every aspect of the building. Locals seeking to transport building materials have been forced to smuggle them in through neighboring villages and soldiers and police have visited and monitored the village consistently.
Like the dozen or so other villages in the surrounding South Hebron Hills community, Al Mufaqarah does not have permission to build any structure, due to is existence within Area C, where Israel has full civil and security control.
Currently, the third home is still under construction. After Israeli forces stopped the construction of the new mosque last Saturday, leaders are organizing plans for how they will continue the campaign and finish all 15 homes.
Leaders of the community actually anticipate the likelihood of the homes being demolished, but demonstrate a stubborn sense of determination. Mahmoud Hamandeh, a local member of the community insists, “every time they demolish, we will rebuild.” The village is hoping its diligence will bring the local Israeli authorities to recognize the legitimacy of the community, cease demolition orders and allow it to remain on its land.