Land acton at Um la Kher
On Saturday morning we joined a land action at Um la Kher. Israelis and Palestinians working side-by-side. The villagers were building a road to go further into the valley were there were some homes. Of course, when we got there, a military jeep also pulled up to see what was going on. They left again but I have no doubts that they will be back when the Sabbath is over.
I had my recorder and interviewed three of the Israelis. They belong to an organization called Ta’ayush. Their website states: Israelis & Palestinians striving together to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality through daily non-violent direct-action. Amir Bitan from Jerusalem states that members of Ta’ayust come – some every week, some once every two weeks or so. When asked why he comes, he replied: “First, we are against the occupation. Second, if we do not come, this place will be like the Valley of Jordan. The villages are evacuated by the Israeli armies and the people deported to other places. We want to help these people keep their land. It is important that we are here.” When asked what happens when he talks to other Israelis about the situation here, ” Most people don’t want to know. They cover their eyes, ears. Most of the Israelis want to live their lives and that is it.” I also interviewed Danny and later one of the four Israeli young people who came just as we were leaving. They all expressed their desire to end the occupation and the discrimination.
Building the road involves removing large rocks and filling the holes with smaller rocks and try to level as much as possible before putting the fine gravel on. The gravel had been delivered by truck from Yatta in the middle of the night so that it would not be seen and confiscated. Sad really.
In the afternoon we were called to Birin. There was what appeared to be an attempted abduction. A boy coming home from high school in Bani Na`im was walking on a road used by settlers. A car passed slowly with 5 people in it. Then a couple of minutes later it came back with just the driver. The boy then saw someone hiding behind bushes and knowing the terrain started running. Somebody ran after him but he was able to reach the gravel road leading to his village. He did not tell his parents for fear he would not be able to go back to school. However he did tell the headmaster who reported it to authorities. They drove the boy home and talked with his parents. We were asked if we could find a way for the 2 high school students to get a ride or accompany them. There is no one in the village who has a car nor school transport in the area. We will try to find a way and randomly accompany them on the way home from school. We also filed a report on this incident.