Wednesday, December 13, 2006

 

Wild Boar and settlement sewage (10th December ’06)

Many aspects of life under Occupation remain largely hidden from the world. All these "smaller" tactics make up the larger picture, a picture of removing Palestinians from the map. A few days ago I met a friend for coffee, we chatted about many things and naturally the conversation came to the olive harvest.
His uncle is in bed, unable to move, with a broken back. On their first day harvesting he was viciously attacked by a wild boar. The releasing of wild boar into Palestinian land by the Israeli army, Israeli "nature guards" and Israeli settlers causes serious injury as well as vast destruction to crops and trees. Naturally Palestinians are scared of these animals and it is another deterrent and obstacle to them safely accessing their land. It does not stop with wild boar, snakes have also been released.

My friends family had some ancient olive trees (around 1000 years old) which were burnt by the Israeli army. Apparently the trees were "too close" to the settlement. These ancient trees are not only part of the history and fabric of Palestinian society, but yield vast amounts of olives.

A farmer from the nearby village Azzun Atma called early one morning, distraught. The bulldozers had arrived on his land. Azzun Atma is a few kilometers inside the Green Line. It is one of the Palestinian villages which has ended up on the "wrong side" of the Wall, existing in limbo. There were 2 ways into the village, one is impassable because of a long term road block (a huge mound of earth and rubble), the other is controlled by a permanent checkpoint, which closes at 10pm every night. These "seam zone" villages have severely limited access to services. Someone needing emergency medical treatment at night faces a perilous situation of trying to get the checkpoint opened "out of hours".

The Apartheid Wall to the East of the village is complete, effectively cutting off easy access to the rest of Palestine and leaving Azzun Atma on the "Israeli side" of the Wall. The construction work that is now underway is a Wall which will completely encircle the village, further isolating it. The existence of the illegal Israeli settlements are responsible for the route of the Wall and the imprisoning of Azzun Atma.

The farmer had a small "victory". He managed to negotiate the path of the Wall back nearer to the planned route, instead of the extra 15 meters inside his land which the bulldozers had already begun to churn up and destroy. Internationals sat in solidarity on the farmers land as he negotiated.

IWPS also went to a neighbouring village, Kifl Haris, where land and trees are being destroyed because of raw sewage that is coming from Ariel settlement. Ariel is a massive settlement, with a population of approximately 18,000 people. Clearly they have the technical knowledge and financial ability to resolve this. What the Settlers lack is the will.

Raw sewage, dumping rubbish next to Palestinian villages, releasing wild boar, not giving building permits... all these are tactics to bring about a "voluntary" expulsion of Palestinians from their land.

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