Follow-up At-Twayel

Since the demolition of At-Twayel on the 29. April, we visited the families several times. Some sort of a friendship began to develop. Every time we came, they welcomed us with tea, coffee and invitations for a meal. We loved to see how every day life had come back to the village. The families had settled in the tents, reconstruction of the houses went on quickly. The citizens of Aqraba came down to At-Twayel for Friday prayer, which took place in a shelter put up next to the ruins of the mosque.

Friday Prayer

Some ten days after the disaster, the villagers told us that soldiers had come to take many photos of every building. They feared a new demolition action. The bulldozer could have arrived at every moment. Since a demolition order for the village already existed and the new houses were built without permit, they did not need a further decision of the judge anymore.


Now in Jerusalem for a week’s gathering of EAPPI, the bad news arrived this morning. As soon as I went over the first shock, I called Ghassan to learn more. He was in At-Twayel, so the connection was very bad, but I managed to understand his brief description of the situation. Some 250 to 300 soldiers arrived in the village at 3.14 a.m. this morning, bringing three bulldozers with them. This time, it was not only the border police, but also the army and the Israeli civil administration. “The big bosses”, he said. They destroyed all the new built structures: two housings, two shelters for the animals and four water cisterns. The five tents the Palestinian Red Crescent had provided were confiscated.

Only two weeks after the catastrophe, At-Twayel is again at the same point. Will Sahar, Fahreda, Anwar, Osama, Muhammad and their families find the sumood* to rebuild the village again? Or will, sooner or later, the Israeli authorities win the fight and the villagers will abandon At-Twayel to live in Aqraba?

See the pictures of the rebuilding in the Gallery

*Arabic word for steadfastness, no surrender, very accurate description of Palestinian mentality. Read more on Wikipedia

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I have been sent to Palestine and Israel by HEKS-EPER and Peace Watch Switzerland as Human Rights Observer in the frame of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the sending organizations. If you like to publish the information contained in this article or disseminate it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communication Officer or Peace Watch Switzerland More information about our program can be found on and

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