Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign

 

Welcome to the Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website. Last updated: 17 January, 2010

Computers4Palestine Mailing 7

Bristol man, Ed Hill, has just returned from visiting Palestine with a team of UK Peace Volunteers. They have been staying in small West Bank towns to help with the Olive Harvest have been witnessing the ongoing injustices in Palestine.

During the second week of their trip they witnessed soldiers obstructing and delaying farmers and their families trying to reach their fields to harvest their olives. They heard accounts of threats of attacks from settlers to farmers tending their fields. And they saw evidence of deliberate acts of pollution, which have killed the farmer?s fruit and olive trees. They also spent time at checkpoints observing the obstruction of Palestinian travel between their different areas of the West Bank. Finally they witnessed the Israeli army demolishing farmers homes and buildings.

Az Zawiya

Some of the volunteers stayed in the small rural town of Az Zawiya. Here a large area of the farmers land is being cut off behind the infamous Israeli Separation Wall/Fence. In order to reach their olive trees the farmers have to walk for three-quarters of an hour from their nearest road, pass through a drainage tunnel under a new Israeli highway, and
pass through the one remaining gap in the Wall/Fence. This gap was guarded by Israeli soldiers. Every day they blocked the farmers and their families for up to an hour & a half before they would let them pass to start their picking.

As Sawiya

Ed Hill visited the town of As Sawiya, where volunteers helped with the olive harvest last year. He spoke to organisers in the town to hear of the problems they have faced over the last twelve months. Farmers faced problems from the nearby settlement when they went to plough their fields this spring. An additional problem has been a deliberate release of sewerage, which poisoned the land and killed some trees.

Last year the town had a vibrant and therapeutic youth club including billiard tables, two computers, and a Dabka dance group. Sadly this has had to close this year due to the shortage of money to pay the rent on the premises. In addition, the organiser in the town, who works during the day for a Government Ministry, hasn?t been paid since March 2006 and has had to take out a personal loan for the bus fare to work, to continue his job as a volunteer.

Masha

Ed Hill visited the small West Bank town of Masha. Here, surpassing any of the absurdities of the Berlin Wall, a Palestinian house has been incorporated into the midst of the Separation Fence/Wall. As the house was built before 1967 it couldn?t legally be demolished. So the Separation fences have been built all around the house while the family
are still living there. The Israelis, out of vindictiveness, have built a section of 25- foot high concrete wall in front of the house to separate it from the rest of the Palestinian town.

Deir Ballut

This is a checkpoint that controls a Palestinian area that can only be described as an ?enclave off an enclave? trapped behind multiple stretches of the Israeli Separation Wall/fence that join the (illegal) Settlements back to Israel. The gates on the checkpoint close at sunset, but if anyone is taken ill in the area ambulances aren?t allowed to pass. Since the building of the checkpoint, an elderly man has died of heart failure and a woman has given birth to premature twins (which have died) in ambulances, which have not been allowed to pass the checkpoint
by the soldiers.

(Pics credit <http://www.iwps.info/>)

Checkpoints

Ed Hill spent some time at the various checkpoints observing the delays and heavy military domination of Palestinians as they try to pass from one part of the West Bank to another. Vehicles are minutely inspected and searched by soldiers and with dogs. Pedestrians have to queue up to be searched inside their clothes, in their bags, and to have their IDs checked. All this is done by young and nervous armed soldiers. On some days the delays can be for hours at a time. On occasions checkpoints can close altogether and people must return home. Ed heard accounts of how the soldiers can open fire at any moment and heard distressing accounts of Palestinians being shot dead on the spot, for no apparent reason.

Demolitions

On the final day, members of the team were called to the town of Al Funduq. Here the Israeli army demolished two family homes and two large agricultural buildings. Sound bombs and rubber bullets were used to quell protest from the Palestinians. Such demolitions are deemed to be legal, as the Israeli haven?t granted planning permission for any new buildings in the West Bank since the 1967 invasion - hence all recent buildings are under threat of such demolition. (see <http://www.iwps.info/> report number 279)

(These three pics credit Alys at www.IWPS.info <http://www.iwps.info/>)

Note: these pics are "thumbnails" to suit dial-up email connections.
Higher resolution pics available.

*Ed Hill says*, ?/In every aspect of life the Palestinians are being robbed and degraded. Farmers land is gradually being stolen from them for the Wall or the illegal settlements. Their crops are being destroyed by wonton acts such as pollution. People face ever-increasing restrictions on their travel within their own country. Their resources and their precious time are being stolen from them. This is all economic sabotage of their economy. Their houses and lively-hood are being wrested from them by brutal demolitions. And all this under the barrel of a gun. It is clear to me the Israelis are engaged on slow-motion ethnic-cleansing to gradually clear the Palestinians from their own homes and lands in the West Bank so it can eventually be incorporated into Israel. This is theft of an entire land and I think it?s an
international scandal!?

*He goes on to say*/ ?I recommend anyone to visit Palestine as a Peace worker. There is a wide-range of peace, faith and solidarity groups that can arrange trips. Then people can see, with their own eyes, the unbelievable and unbearable levels of injustice and oppression taking
place here. ?

Ed Hill's film will be show in the Bristol/SW area:-

*Wednesday 6th December*. 7.30pm Cardiff Social Forum, the Social
Centre, Brunel Street, Riverside, Cardiff. FFI Jon Blake 0292-0213-053

and

*Tuesday 12^th December*. 7.30pm Thornbury United Reform Church, FFI
Candia Barman 01454-412-603

*Further media coverage:-*

Respected Middle East Journalist, felicity Arbuthnot has written up
features articles in:

Morning Star newspaper Monday 27th November

and

<http://www.unobserver.com> & <http://www.arbuthnot4iraq.blogspot.com>

and at the last count copied onto about a dozen websites around the world!

 

*Did you miss this?
*

**

*Sunday 3rd December* Bristol & SW BBC TV "The Politics Show" 12.30pm
includes excepts from the video footage of the 2006 trip together with a
live debate between Ed Hill and a pro-Israel MP.
You can view "The Politics Show" again if you click here
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/bristol/realmedia/tv/ps?size=16x9c&bgc=C0C0C0&nbram=1&bbram=1>.

If you can't view the video, you will need a "Real Player" Plugin, click
here
<http://forms.real.com/real/realone/intl/intl_realone.html?dc=128127126&type
=rp10_en_uk&lang=en&loc=gb&src=ZG.uk.idx.sp.hd.def,ZG.uk.rp10_p_f.rp10_p_f.7
60.rp10_plus_free>
to download the plugin.

ENDS