IPMN Stands Against Continuing Demolitions and Destruction of the Village of Al-Walajeh
September 6, 2018 — Solidarity with residents of villages and olive tree farms during olive harvest and olive tree planting has long been part of IPMN’s mission presence in Palestine. For many years, we have been one of the partners of the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) through the Keep Hope Alive trips.
This week, +972 Magazine reported on the continuing demolition of Walajeh homes as part of Israeli land grabs for settlement expansion.
Al-Walajeh has been one of the villages that JAI has designated for solidarity action in the attempt to thwart takeovers of land and in order to secure the legitimate rights of the land owners to continue to reside there. IPMN will be sending another delegation with Keep Hope Alive in October which will be led by our moderator, Rev. Jeff DeYoe.
IPMN grieves with the families whose homes have been demolished and continue our commitment to stand in solidarity with all the residents of Al-Walajeh as they resist the demolition orders placed on their homes and livelihoods.
Personal Statement by Rev. Jeff DeYoe, IPMN Moderator
As an active participant in the Keep Hope Alive Olive Program in Palestine, which includes olive tree planting in February and the olive harvest in October, I have been in al-Walajeh and have met the farm families affected by the demolition and destruction orders.
Having grown up in rural Kansas, and serving rural parishes in both Kansas and Minnesota, I knew these people without ever having met them before. It did not matter if they were Christian or Muslim. I knew them as people of the land. They were the same people as the ranchers whose land I worked on as a teenager and whose farms I visited often as a pastor.
And as I have routinely watched Israeli soldiers and settlers come onto their fields uninvited and wreak havoc, my heart has broken many times over and my anger has risen up within my being.
I have watched the Palestinian program directors negotiate with Israeli military commanders to make it possible for us to stay and work. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don’t. When they haven’t succeeded settlers have been given free rein to tear up the hundreds of trees we had already planted.
And I have seen the pain in the eyes of these farm families. I can’t imagine the pain I’d see today, as now even their homes are being destroyed. This is the land of their ancestors, being unceremoniously stolen from them.
God is not a land stealer in the Jewish, Muslim or Christian faith. Humans do that, and then say God told them it was okay. No, it is not okay. It was not okay centuries ago and it is not okay now.
We condemn this destruction of olive trees and crops, the destruction of homes and villages of these farm families living on ancestral lands, and the destruction of their peaceful and rural lives.