WHAT do you get up to on your holidays?

Plenty of people like to keep it simple, whether it is relaxing by the pool in Marbella or going sightseeing in Rome.

But I doubt anyone can say they travelled to an Israeli occupation zone to rebuild a family home.

However, that is exactly what two residents from Gosfield got up to when they visited the notorious West Bank.

It was the third time Stuart and Elaine Jones visited the disputed Israeli-Palestinian territory.

The couple travelled to the region with the charity Amos Trust to help rebuild the home of a Palestinian family.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has documented the demolition of almost 2,000 properties over the last two years - 200 of these in the last three months.

The couple say most of the homes destroyed are in Area C of the West Bank.

They told how the family they went to help had been living in a refugee camp for over fifty years but had managed to buy a piece of land and build a place to call home.

The building work took 12 years and everything up to their last penny, including four loans.

But just two weeks before they were due to move in, Stuart and Elaine claim the Israeli military authorities demolished the home as the property was within an area where the authorities wanted to put in a new Israeli road to connect nearby settlements.

They say having to repay the loans on a home that now didn’t exist was both heart-breaking and completely soul-destroying for the family, and there was no way that they could ever afford to build a new home.

The retired couple, who worked as deputy headteachers, along with 25 other volunteers gave up two weeks of their time to help rebuild the home.

They raised almost £1,500 each to help pay for the cost of the rebuild.

Stuart said: “This gesture is a drop-in-the-ocean in the context of the ongoing ethnic cleansing, but the project is about rebuilding hope and drawing attention to the ongoing oppression.”

Elaine said that through her small contribution she hoped that she could help a family that has suffered the loss of their home and share awareness on the ongoing humanitarian effort. 

They added: “We have learned about the long history of oppression that they have faced.

“Sadly, while we are able to visit Palestine, the State of Israel denies the Palestinians their right of return to their homes and communities.”

A representative of the Amos Trust added:  “We aim to highlight the injustice of home demolitions, stand in solidarity with Palestinian families facing apartheid and offer Amos Trust supporters and activists the opportunity to help build tangible hope.

“Amnesty International has now declared Palestine clearly part of an apartheid system that denies Palestinians their rights and makes it incredibly difficult to maintain their presence and flourish on their own land.”