|Move Over AIPAC needs you in DC May 21-24!|
Back in the Awarta area for the past four days I continue to feel so helpless and outraged by the daily army and settler violence inflicted on its residents constituting nothing less than unending collective punishment on the community. Every night since I have returned either the settlers/ army or both have entered the town, broken into peoples homes, firebombed the mosque. dropped flares to terrify the population and keep it off balance. The girls report at school that the soldiers simply tell them during the breakins that they will be back night after night.As I mentioned earlier the women have been gathered in 'sweeps' ..called via sound systems to come into the the streets, walk to the army base, have a number ( in Hebrew) secured to their shoulder, wait outside for questioning. One mother with no one to look after her 2.4 month old, stood outside the interrogation center with her baby in the cold for the entire night.
There is little we, as internationals can do..many residents are afraid to putting internationals in danger by letting them sleep in their homes and suffering even more consequences.The Palestinian Authority is seen as complicit with the Israeli army in that they have not visited, responded to calls from the community for an international investigation. So the plan is to carefully get peoples' stories and then go after media attention, both with in Palestine as well as abroad....I have been working on this and also on getting official permission for internationals to have an ongoing presence in the schools.
In addition to Awarta, time is spent trying to help a poor small farming community Izbet a Tabib where 32 of their 45 homes are under Israeli demolition orders for being located in an' agricultural zone'...Even more pressing is the Israeli army's imminent plan to take 15 dunums( around 4 acres) of their BEST land , heavily planted with old olive trees which runs along a' settler only' road. The Army has already taken 45 dunums of the land, for one farmer this additional confiscation would wipe out all his land. The Israelis say that stones have been thrown at settler cars from this area although there has never been questioning or an arrest of anyone in the village for stone-throwing during the past ten years...if there has been (highly skeptical) any problem the solution would be to provide security to the cars..perhaps a patrol.. not confiscate private property. I got in touch with ..hope you know these miracle workers by now..Awad and our own Mazin.. .like calling on the cavalry in my estimation.
Awad immediately took the head farmer to the lawyers and they will submit a 'stay' of the proposed fence in the superior court today....the reasoning is, at best, delay -delay- delay..cost the Israeli occupation (US tax payer) big bucks..as Mazin reminds us the Wall begun in 2002 was supposed to be completed in 2 years at a cost of around $ 2 billion and now,2011, 70% completed for a price tag of about $8 billion.
Also, potentially significant for the community: apparently, as an indication of how strong the Palestinian legal case is, the Israeli civil administration felt compelled to alert the farmers' lawyer as to when the start of the fence building....of course we will use this time table to the Palestinian advantage...more as it unfolds!