For the past two months, the IDF has been called activists and their family members in Gaza to warn them of their intent on bombing their homes.
Palestinians have found away to prevent the bombings; dozens, even hundreds, gather at the homes of those wanted, thereby thwarting the destruction. In recent days, Father Peter and Sister Mary Ellen of Michigan have joined them.
At the end of last week, the IDF informed the Brudi family in Jabalya of their intent to bomb and demolish their home in protest of their son’s activities with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC).
Since then, hundreds of neighbors and activists of all organizations congregated at the house in an effort to prevent the demolition. The same idea was adopted at the home of a prominent Hamas activist in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh even held a press conference there.
These homes have become pilgrimage sites in recent days not only for locals. Foreign peace activists have started to show interests in the phenomenon, and two Americans, a priest and a nun from Michigan, arrived at Jabalya from Michigan to take part in the human shield mission at the Brudi family home.
Sister Mary Ellen told Ynet, “We are here to find out the truth and to be with the family and these people, who are trying to prevent the demolition of a home where an entire family lives.”
The Sister continued, “We are against any type of violence, whether from the Palestinian side or the Israeli side, by we are here to be with a family that may have their house bombed and demolished because of the claim that one or two members are involved in violence.”
She explained, “We are against any type of collective punishment and feel this punishment is wrong, a complete mistake. If the Israelis claim a family member is involved in violence, then they can arrest them, but not destroy a home populated by an entire family.”
She also explained that she was well aware of the Qassam rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip towards Sderot, and said, “I adamantly oppose and condemn the firings like I condemn all violence.”