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Archive for the ‘Settlers’ 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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Farm and the settlement in the background

Farm and the settlement in the background

Recently, I spent one day working on the farm near the Bethlehem city. This farm is located next to the Road 60 which connects Jerusalem with Hebron and was mainly built to make it easy and quick for settlers living in Hebron to get to Jerusalem. The road to the farm is in a very bad condition, a car has to move very slowly so as not to damage the chassis.

The farm is owned by a few families for whom its produce is the main source of income. Me and other internationals were warmly welcomed by the owners, greeted with a cup of tea with mint and also invited for lunch. Our job was to clear the fields of weeds. Theoretically not that hard but when it is done in the middle of the day in the  scorching sun, I am telling you, it is not that easy. (more…)

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