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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Postcard from Palestine 9 - Destroying Palestine Bit by Bit

Hebden Bridge's Ron Taylor is a regular visitor to Palestine, part of an international movement of supporters.

The Saturday before last I was in the South Hebron Hills with Ta'ayush (the Arab-Jewish Partnership). One of our tasks that day was to accompany farmers from the village of Shaab-al-Buttum whilst they ploughed their land near the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Yitzpe Mair. Our presence was sought as in recent weeks the farmers had been unable to access the land and had been threatened by settlers and the military. Settlers had even ploughed some sections themselves as they want to steal it to add to land they have already seized.

Within minutes Israeli soldiers,egged on by settlers, stopped the ploughing at gunpoint. It was, they said, a closed military zone. If we stayed we would be arrested even though the Palestinians have documentary proof that they own the land. (Lawyers from Rabbis for Human Rights are on the case and, I was told, are clear that the military are acting illegally).There was no option but to leave the CMZ. We, Ta'ayush and the farmers, decided to wait around for an hour or two to keep the soldiers occupied - they really don't like it, after all this Shabbat and they should be resting!

From Shaab-al-Buttum we then made our way to the larger village of Mufaqara a few miles further to the east. Mufaqara, along with nine other communities, is threatened with demolition (so the Israeli military can undertake weapons training) and a meeting was taking place to discuss the strategy for resisting the Israeli plans. Whilst there I took this photograph

Postcard from Palestine

The mosque (pictured) at Mufaqara was demolished by the Israeli military in November 2011. People from the village rebuilt it and the roof had been added only a few weeks ago. Two days after I took the photo Israeli soldiers invaded Mufaqara at 6.30 am accompanied by bulldozers.

They demolished the mosque.

Last Saturday we were again in Mufaqara and I took this photo.

Postcard from Palestine

The demolition of the mosque (built illegally, say the Israeli military) is just one incident in a long list of war crimes committed each day.

This year alone has seen the destruction by settlers and the military of more than 8,000 Palestinian olive and soft fruit trees in the West Bank.

This year alone has seen the destruction by the Israeli military of 35 rainwater cisterns in communities not connected to the water network ( Israel denies them permission to be connected).

Also this year, by August, Israel had demolished 467 Palestinian structures of which 140 were residential.

I could go on. But what is clear is that Israel is not content with its current borders as defined by international law. It wants to build 'Greater Israel ' by taking over all the land that was once Palestine. Israel's version of peace is the complete surrender of the remaining Palestinians to the will of what is laughingly known as " the only democracy in the Middle East".

Ron Taylor

See also

Postcard from Palestine 8 - Trees destroyed in revenge

Postcard from Palestine 7 - Normal life in Palestine

Postcard from Palestine 6 -Beer festival and closed military zones (2 November 2012)

Postcard from Palestine 5 - April 2012

Postcard from Palestine 4 - attacked by settlers

Postcard from Palestine 3 - detained by the Israeli army (16 March 2012)

Postcard from Palestine 2 (19 Feb 2012)

HebWeb Forum: Postcard from Palestine

Postcard from Palestine 1 (8 Feb 2012)

HebWeb News - Hebden Bridge Old Gits support Palestinian farmers

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