Saturday Land Action in the Firing Zone
The day started with a land action nearby At Tuwani. It was in a field where olive trees had been cut by Israelis. When we arrived the military was close by of course – they seem to be everywhere. Ta’ayush was also present as they are at all land actions. It is good to know that there are Israelis who are also working for justice and an end to the occupation.
Danny was there who I had previously interviewed. When I asked if he had been in the military, he said he had refused and so spent a couple of times in jail. He told them that if Israel was attacked, he would be the first to join but overseeing occupation was not defending your country.
When walking through the olive trees, he mentioned that things get worse in the spring when shepherds are out for longer periods of time and when the harvest is ready.
We were now helping to plant trees around the perimeter of the olive field. You could clearly see where the trees had been cut a year ago and the new growth. Sandra an EA from the Jerusalem team was with us on a placement visit so she got to be at a land action. She was good with the kids there and they taught her a song in Arabic. Leif and Christian dug some holes and I carried some of the plants. These land actions are a way of being present in the land and letting the Israelis know that nothing they do will drive them away. But for sure, life is very difficult.
We left the land action to walk to the Firing Zone. We entered from the At Tuwani side. Our intent was to visit three villages that we had missed. We did get to a village called Um Fagarah. It consists of 17 families with a population of 150 or so. The people need to buy water when the wells become dry. They have had demolitions in the past and demolition orders for the village as all do that are in the Firing Zone and close to the desert. They have electricity by generator which is costly. We will check to see if solar panels can be installed for them as well as the next village of Khallet Athaba. There is a third village nearby an outpost that was now abandoned. I guess, a victory for the Israelis. I do think that if this continues with settlements, villages will be isolated and cut off from each other and eventually be driven out. Now their grazing lands, etc are greatly reduced.
After returning to At Tuwani, our driver picked us up. We decided to go to Um la Kher so Sandra can see the how close it is to the settlement. This way, she got to see some of the evidence of recent demolitions.
Note: As EAs, we get a chance to visit other placements for two nights if we wish. That way we get a more rounded picture of what is happening in the West Bank. I went to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to see about what goes on in a more urban environment. And we get EA’s from Jerusalem and Bethlehem coming here. Laura, from her, is now visiting the Jericho team.