The village of Al-Walaja is located on the southern periphery of Jerusalem. Part of it was annexed in 1967 and therefore lies within the municipal boundaries of the city. That which wasn’t annexed is considered part of Area C in the West Bank.
The Al-Walaja community keeps alive traditional Palestinian agriculture alive, making Walaje’s terraced fields one of the most beautiful places in the Jerusalem area.
But instead of being home to a heritage site marking the culture and scenery of this land, the people of Walaja face the danger of mass home demolitions, which would cause hundreds of residents to lose their homes and threaten to uproot the Al-Walaja community.
Since its annexation in 1967, the State has refused to approve an outline plan for the annexed part of Walaja, which would allow for residential building. Residents, therefore, cannot obtain building permits. As a result of increased action against unpermitted construction, in the last four years alone, 25 houses have been demolished in the Jerusalem part of the village.
The residents of Walaja have even initiated the preparation and submission of an outline plan for the village - but for years the planning committees have refused to discuss it. In February this year, after residents applied to the High Court on the matter, the committee finally discussed Walaja's outline plan … and rejected it.
A week ago, the State submitted a request to reject the petition that has so far prevented the carrying out of 38 demolition orders in the village. If the court accepts the request, it could mean the immediate demolition of these homes.
As if the threat of demolition isn’t enough, a plan to build a new settlement in the area threatens to turn Walaja into an area encircled by the Separation Barrier – cutting it off on all sides.
Join us on Monday, July 12th to learn more about this village and what must be done in order to protect it from demolition.