Updated: Dec 18, 2021
On November 22, a crisis for the very existence of the Al-Twani Nonviolence Education Center was set in motion by an order received from the Israeli military—take down this building or the military will demolish it. The Youth of Sumud, with support of Al-Ard project and Taghyeer Movement, had over the last two years built something extraordinary for the village and the Palestinian neighboring communities—a nonviolence education center and volunteer guest house. It became a symbol of Palestinians belonging to the land and a focus of nonviolent community steadfastness. In early December, Taghyeer Movement sent an Urgent Alert to our international supporters, who in the U.S. wrote and called the U.S. State Department to press Israel not to demolish.
In Washington, Friends of Taghyeer Movement began working with the office of a Member of Congress which reached out in protest to the Embassy of Israel. The Embassy shared a message they received from the Civil Administration in the West Bank (COGAT), that this was not in itself a demolition order, but Israel had the right to demolish. COGAT said they wanted to set up a meeting with the building owners to discuss "archeological" issues and the site. The town council of Al-Twani had in the past asked Israeli authorities for such a meeting with no Israeli response—and no archeological issues had been cited during the lengthy construction period.
The family owners of the land have agreed to a meeting—and our friend in the U.S. Congress has asked the Embassy to inform COGAT. While we wait to see if this meeting happens, the conditions on the ground remain unacceptable. Just today, we have word that in the villages of Mufagarah and Al Rakeez, Palestinians are arrested for working their privately owned lands and a tractor confiscated. Palestinian-owned lands are being declared state land for the use of Israeli settlers. The past weeks have seen harassment of Palestinian school children, arrests of Palestinians protecting them, and settlers planting on land they don’t own at the entrance to a Palestinian village 3km away. U.S. citizen volunteers in the area have been arrested while witnessing police and settler disputes with Palestinians (and then released). More and more "demolition orders" on homes have been occurring—in Al-Twani and many other towns and villages in Area C. Our Congressional friend is organizing a group of Members of Congress to meet next month with the Embassy of Israel to express concern about all these issues, as well as all the unchecked settler violence and daily encroachment on Palestinian land. Taghyeer is grateful to our supporters and those in U.S. government who let Israel know they oppose these repressive actions against Palestinians.