From the time I learned my own name until the day my mother died, any time I faced a problem, she would say, “Just come home.” I used to laugh at her simple solution. At the same time, I felt a sense of peace and security in knowing that no matter what, I had a home to come to.
I can only imagine what it must feel like to wake up in the middle of the night, hear a crash and realize that the Israelis have come to knock your house down. You may have been warned. At least, the authorities sometimes left a demolition notice somewhere on or near your property. Of course, a thousand other Palestinians have received the same notice and since Israel randomly executes the demolition of a house, it means that no one can rest easy. You never know when the Caterpillar D-9 will come rumbling down the road in search of your house.
“My morning routine,” says Neimah Dandi, whose home in Anata was finally demolished in November 2004 after a wait of eight years, “consisted of getting out of bed, going to the window to see if the bulldozers were approaching, then going to the bathroom.”
Palestinian homes may be destroyed even when a neighbor draws the short straw.
Jewish author, Jeff Helper writes:
When homes are demolished in military actions or as acts of deterrence and collective punishment, there is no process. No formal demolition orders, no warning, no time to remove furniture or personal belongings, often barely time to escape the home falling down around your ears. This can happen to your home, or to the home of a neighbor whom the Israeli authorities have targeted. Nuha Maqqdmah Sweidan, a Gazan mother of 10 and nine months pregnant, was killed when the house next to hers was dynamited by Israeli troops. “We were in bed, the children were asleep,” her husband related to Amnesty International. “There was an explosion and walls collapsed on top of us. I started to dig in the rubble with my hands. First I found my two little boys and my three year old girl… My wife remained trapped under the rubble with our youngest daughter. She was holding her when the wall fell on her…”
So far, over 24,145 homes have been destroyed since 1967 in West Bank and over 4,000 in Gaza during last winter’s massacre. Moshe Ya’alon. the Israeli Army Chief of Staff declared, “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.” I am sure that a father who cannot protect his family or provide a home for his children must feel exactly what the Chief wants him to feel, defeated. Any Palestinian, at any age, any where or at anytime, for any reason may find himself harassed, denied water, freedom of movement or homeless to make room for more Jewish only roads or settlements, even in Jerusalem, On the other hand, not one Jewish home has been destroyed to make room for anything Palestinian.
Most of us remember the announcement of 1600 new Jewish only housing units in Arab East Jerusalem. Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel to talk about another “talk about peace” when it was made. Netanyahu apologized for the “timing” of the announcement. At the same time, Elie Wiesel put a full page ad in the New York Times, saying, “Jerusalem is above politics…And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city.” As I read that, I wondered if Wiesel was joking or deliberately lying. At any rate he is out of touch with reality. To say such a thing flies into the teeth of every human rights organization, both Jewish and Gentile, reporting on what is actually happening in his beloved city, Wiesel celebrates the fact that Jews can, “pray at the Wall, the last vestige of Solomon’s temple.” In view of evictions, home demolitions, and laws applied exclusively to Arabs that privilege Jews only, he leaves me wondering what in the world do they pray for and what kind of God do they pray to.
I thank God that my home is protected by a Constitution promising liberty and justice for all, and that I have a choice to NOT live in Jerusalem.
August 31, 2010
 Jeff Helper, Obstacles to Peace, Published by Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, 2009, p.51.
 Ibid., p. 49.
 Jeff Helper, Obstacles to Peace, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, p.26
 April 18, 2010, p. 11.