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Archive for the ‘Occupation’ Category

Soon after I arrived in Palestine for the second time I had a chance to learn the occupation the hard way. On my very first day Israelis cut off the electricity in Bethlehem’s  neighbourhood. In the shop i was told that they do that sometimes out of the blue, plunging all the area into darkness. The sight of illuminated Har Homa (illegal under national law Israeli settlement facing Bethlehem) was the obvious manifestation of Israeli superiority and it only increased Palestinians’ frustration.

Not only the electricity, but also water resources in the Palestinian Territory are limited, and controlled by the Israeli authority. Here are some numbers. Of the water available from the West Bank aquifers, Israel uses 73%, Palestinians 17% and 10% goes to illegal Israeli settlers.  Statistics show that per year, each Israeli consumes as much water as four Palestinians.

Wells are considered the most important source of water in Palestine. Yet,  many of them have been confiscated for Israeli use. Israeli authority not only does not allow new wells to be drilled, but also set quotas on how much water can be drawn by Palestinians from the existing wells. The second source of water, is Israeli Water Company Mekorot, which sells Palestinians their own share of water. During the summer, when water supplies are low, Mekorot closes the valves, which supply Palestinian towns and villages so as to preserve Israeli supplies. In real life it means that, while illegal settlers are swimming in their pools and watering their lawns, Palestinians don’t have enough water to drink or cook. One of my friend asked me today if I have a water at my place, as she doesn’t. I still have it,  just because I am lucky to live with a family that uses water from the tank.

Illegal settlements are built on the very source of water and settlers destroy Palestinians’ water supplies by polluting wells with sevage, perforating  water roof tanks, vanadalazing the connecting pipes, just to name a few.

The Apartheid Wall isolates Palestinians not only from their land, but also from many important underground wellsprings.

Expropriation Palestinian water for the use by Israeli citizens and illegal settlers and controlling the electricity in the Occupied Territories are just examples of numerous of violations of the interantional law. Since water and electricity are crucial for wellbeing, it’s  hard to belittle such violations in everyday live here in Palestine.

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Soldier invading Bil'in at 2 am

Soldier invading Bil'in

Five years ago the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its advisory opinion declaring that the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal and should be dismantled. After five years of silence and complicity of the international community in perpetrating this crime, several villages across the occupied West Bank have formed committees engaged in continuous demonstrations against the Wall and the settlements. Israel is getting scared by this phenomenon of mass popular resistance, especially because of the unity created amongst Palestinians, Israeli and International activists who have been demonstrating together against the apartheid Wall for more than four years. (more…)

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Last Friday, I eventually managed to go to the famous Bi’lin demonstration. I touched on it briefly in the post entitled “The power of ‘one-persons”. I don’t want to repeat myself, so please read it if you haven’t done it already. There is a link in that post that you can follow if you want to find out more about it.

Bear in mind that Bi’lin is quite famous especially among Israeli officials. While crossing the border, one might be asked if he/she has been to Bi’lin. So yes, I have comitted this serious crime and I went there 🙂 All I’m going to do here is to show you some pictures so you will have an idea of what it looks like. (more…)

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No words could explain the feeling.

No words could explain the feeling.

I guess out of all pictures I have taken here, this one is my “favorite”. It speaks to me I guess, but I’ll leave it to you to judge. Either way enjoy the following “gallery”. Maybe it is not quite an “update” but it is some kind of selection. See and think and keep in touch. (And move your cursor on top of the images to read where I took them.) (more…)

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Hasan works at our office. He married a Palestinian girl two years ago. He is from Bethlehem and holds a West Bank ID (the Green ID card*). His wife – Samira – is from Palestinian Jerusalem and thus has an Jerusalem ID ( the Blue ID card)  They met in Ramallah: he thought she was from Ramallah (West Bank), while she thought he was from Jerusalem. It would be so much easier if they both were from the same side of the Wall: either the West Bank or Jerusalem. Yet, love does not recognize walls. (more…)

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Seven people were arrested at a non-violent protest in Al Ma’sara nearly three weeks ago: one Israeli, one British, and five Palestinians. The Israeli and the British were released a few hours after as they are protected by Israeli and international law and because there are more serious crimes than participating in a non-violent demonstration. However, Palestinians are consistently treated in a completely different way, treated as unequals, as a lower class group, as though the Israelis and internationals were somehow superior. Three of them were released about two weeks later and two others are awaiting trials. (more…)

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Our only "weapon" - documenting what we see

Our only “weapon” – documenting what we see

 

For yet another Friday we went to Al’Masara, the village where people demonstrate non-violently against the confiscation of their land. The protest was peaceful – no tear gas, no shooting and no arrests. And still – every time I go to these demonstrations, I cannot help but looking at the people. How much have these villagers already suffered, and how do they keep going? They realize that they might be arrested, taken from their families, they might be denied normal life, but they still do it? I respect their courage! (more…)

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