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The Britain - Palestine Twinning Network - "promoting twinning and friendship links"

Activities for the network in 2011 include * Women's visit - March * Twinning Conference in Palestine - April * Visits to Palestine April and October * Conference in Liverpool - November.

Twinning Info. / Visit reports - Friends of Wadi Fuqeen, Reading.

www.wadifuqeenfriends.com - Contact

On this page; About The Friends of Wadi Fuqeen - Latest news (May '06) / February 2006 News - Photos of Wadi Fuqeen (2005) / at a local festival - Wadi Fuqeen photos (2006) - Guardian article about Wadi Fuqeen - The Settlements and their Sewage

Latest News April 2008 - There is a report from ICAHD about Wadi Fuqeen at the bottom of this page; Sewage from the settlement

About the Friends of Wadi Fuqeen

The Friends of Wadi Fuqeen is based in Reading.

Reading adopted the village of Wadi Fuqeen in 2004. They chose it because three members had visited it on different occasions. So, it was felt that it should be fairly easy to keep up regular contact … because all three people had made good friends in the village.

Members also suspected that it would be easier to campaign with specific, recent examples to hand, especially when these involved people they actually knew and a village they had actually visited.

They also try to draw wider public attention to the myriad of difficulties the village is facing. For example, they offer speakers to outside groups and organisations.

Members try to set aside a little bit of time for fund-raising for village projects too. They do not raise huge amounts of money, but do try to provide the villagers' with regular support.

In the run up to last Christmas (2005), members took a stall to a number of Christmas Fayres. They sold Zaytoun olive oil, olive oil soap, and cards, as well as the Palestinian handicrafts available through the Edinburgh-based charity, Hadeel. They made a small profit after paying for pitches and photocopying the flyers.

It didn't take much work though. They just bought a pasting board, borrowed a tablecloth, and made a small, cheap-and-cheerful flyer about the village.

They only made a modest profit, but gave out lots of information on the village, as well as many leaflets from ICAHD, MAP and the Amos Trust. Plus, just selling the handicrafts gave someone somewhere some income that will help them feed their children.

In 2004, we were able to donate a small amount of money to the village's kindergarten. Last summer, they were able to send another small amount of money to help with the costs of a summer activities programme for the village's schoolchildren. The village have not yet said how the group can help them in 2006.

The Kindergarten

The Kindergarten at Wadi Fuqeen is based within a new two-storey building that was financed by the international Christian relief and development charity, World Vision (Future Vision society/Al Khamiah centre).

The construction of the building gave many unemployed and hard-pressed local workers a very welcome opportunity to earn some income.

The building work was completed two years ago but it was only furnished with the necessary equipment and furniture about a year ago due to lack of resources. The furniture and fittings were eventually also donated by World Vision and the International Relief Fund for Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN), a

Canadian non-governmental organisation. A central heating system was installed in the building at around the same time.

The Kindergarten provides nursery education for 46 children aged between four and six-years-old. The children attend the nursery six days a week from 8 am until 12:30 pm. They are taught a wide variety of different subjects and also play games - just like normal nursery-aged children.

Resources

Palestinian handicrafts (Palcrafts) are available from Hadeel, an Edinburgh-based charity. Their website address is www.hadeel.org

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions website can be found at www.icahduk.org

The Address of the Amos Trust's website is www.amostrust.org

This report if from ICAHD, The Israeli Campaign Against House Demolitions who are campaigning for the village as well. For their report on this village scroll down. www.icahd.org

Latest News

January 2008

LATEST NEWS FROM THE VILLAGE OF WADI FUQEEN (09 January 2008)

Over recent Saturdays, people from the nearby settlement of Bittar and HADAR Bittar have started to throw empty glass bottles on the road that leads into the village. This left a trail of broken glass which proved a nuisance to anyone who wanted to enter or leave the village.

It was made clear to the villagers that the people from the settlements wanted them to stop travelling anywhere on Saturdays. This is because, in the eyes of their own Jewish faith, Saturday is holy. They themselves do not travel on Saturdays.

However, the people in Wadi Fuqeen are all of the Muslim faith. A spokesman from the village said: "We do accept they have different ways to us. We respect that, but we have our own beliefs and cannot accept to have beliefs and ways of behaving imposed on us by others. But, it makes life difficult because, at the end of the day, they have the power and not us."

On almost a daily basis now, there is a checkpoint manned by Israeli soldiers at the entrance to the village. The soldiers check everyone coming into, or leaving, Wadi Fuqeen. This is stressful for everyone. For example, on one very cold day recently, one young man from the village had to wait more than three hours outside with the soldiers while they said they were checking his file.

Adel, a young man in his early twenties who was released from prison last August, has enrolled at a University. He is keen to try to compensate for all the years he lost while held inside an Israeli prison without charge.

October 2006

Latest news from Wadi Fuqeen

The news from our adopted village is not good. The economy is almost suffering. Due to the ongoing Israeli 'siege' and economic situation, many families have now completely lost all of their income.

Many people have been discouraged from continuing with their farming and market gardening activities. They simply cannot get their produce to a market before it decays. Plus, the shops are full of Israeli produce - which they find extremely disheartening.

From time to time, the Israelis put a 'flying checkpoint' at the entrance to the village. The soldiers interrogate everyone before letting them pass and this causes a lot of stress. There is, apparently, much fear.

The settlement of Beitar Illit above the village is expanding rapidly. It is built on stolen land and serves as an ever-present reminder to the villagers that they are certainly not masters of their own destiny.

The section of the wall that will run around the village on three sides is now almost complete. (The settlement lies on the fourth side) So is the tunnel that will in future be their only way in and out of the village.

April 2006

One young man called Yousef has apparently been released, but a different one has now been arrested.

These arrests have really shocked and frightened villagers.

The good news is that Yousef Al Hrob was released yesterday morning because no charges could be found to bring against him.

Yousef Al Hrob is a 25-year-old nephew of two of our main contacts in the village. He was arrested about a week ago. No one had any idea why.

While in a nearby prison in Etzion, he was kept in solitary confinement for 48 hours where he was not allowed to sleep. He then moved to a small room with eight other prisons and was given poor quality food.

Yousef was elated when he was released and couldn't wait to get back home. Villagers gave him a warm welcome home.

Now for the bad news. Around 3 am on Saturday morning (06 May 2006), another one of our contacts' nephews, Yousef Manasra, was arrested!

Once again Israeli soldiers entered the village. They went to the home of the elderly parents ( a couple in their 80's) of our contacts and really banged on the doors to insist on entry. They then arrested another one of their grandsons, Yousef Manasra.

Yet again, no one can understand the reason for this arrest. Lawyers from Bethlehem are on the case and they hope to have news by the weekend regarding any possible charges.

The other bit of news is that , for the last three days, raw sewage has again been flowing into the village.

Unemployment increases and Palestinian government employees have not had their salaries paid for three months.

It is a worrying time for villagers.

Also

A 25-year-old man from Wadi Fuqeen, Yousef Al Hrob, was arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning. No one has any idea why.

The IDF closed off the road to the village and stormed the house. No one could understand why they were after Yousef who stays at home, working with his father, and prefers a quiet life with the family. Indeed, Yousef didn't want to cause his parents any extra stress or worry. So he tried to stay close to his home and family. This is because the youngest boy from the family, Adel, was taken and sent to prison two and a half years ago.

A lawyer was able to track down Yousef yesterday (Sunday, 30 May 2006) and get word to the parents of his prison whereabouts. No one knows how long he will be detained but as we all know, Palestinians can be held for some considerable time without charge.

Other recent reports from the village are as follows:

The village of Wadi Fuqeen recently experienced its first flying checkpoint. People were stopped by Israeli soldiers and harassed on their way to school and work.

The overflow sewage pipe from the nearby Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit is still causing awful problems.

The sewage floods agricultural lands and it is sometimes like a waterfall. The frequency of these sewage flows appear to be increasing. In the past, it happened only a few times a year. Now, the sewage pipe is opened every 10-15 days. The sewage comes from the nearby Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit, which presently has 23,000 residents.

The sewage is said to be partially treated, but it is still dangerous and poisonous in its current state. The villagers worry that the sewage's effect on their land will be very lasting.

The villagers' legal campaign against demolition orders continues. No date for the demolition is ever given in these cases. No one knows when it will happen until the soldiers and demolition equipment turns up.

The dynamiting that those of us who travelled there saw is continuing. The Israelis are doing it to remove large rocks and flatten areas above the village ready for settlement building. When we were there, we saw how close it was to the school and how cracks were appearing in the school building.

Now, one nearby house has now been very badly affected. The house has developed large cracks and the owners are very upset and worry about its safety. They fear the dynamiting has affected the foundations.

The Israelis recently uprooted 50 trees and declared that area state land.

The IDF often drive through the village.

Settlers (mainly young men) have also been visiting it - carrying at least one gun amongst them. They walk in the valley by the crops and, last summer, they swam in the water reservoirs!

The Friends of Wadi Fuqeen

February 2006 News

There are urgent problems in our adopted village of Wadi Fuqeen. The first thing I must bring to your attention is the fact that an overflow sewage pipe from the nearby Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit is causing awful problems. The nearby settlement of Beitar Illit presently has 23,000 residents. This is the situation in outline:

- The sewage pipe from Betar Illit opened again 2-3 days ago. It is currently closed. But the sewage flooded agricultural lands and has destroyed crops.

- The frequency of the sewage flows is increasing. In the past, it happened only a few times a year. Now, the sewage pipe is opened every 10-15 days. According to Shadi, the PMG field worker, the pipe is opened on Thursdays, just before the municipalities close for the Sabath. The pipe isn't shut again until the villagers complain and complain.

- There is a serious fear that the sewage flows may eventually reach homes in the areas (ie when the ground is fully saturated).

- The sewage is said to be partially treated, but it is still dangerous and poisonous in its current state. The villagers worry that the sewage's effect on their land will be very lasting.

They are caught between a rock and a hard place, as it were: They cannot accept this happening and yet they fear having this information published in the local press because that would mean that other people will be reluctant to buy their produce. (If and when they can get their stuff to local markets/Bethlehem etc.) They wouldn't then have any income from their agricultural activities and they rely heavily on this.

(Note: according to a Water Policy expert this is raw sewage that is being dumped onto the villagers' lands. The PWA conducted tests and found that it was raw sewage. The settlement council claims that it is treated, but they

refused to let the UN environmental protection agency visit the site to check on the process).

Secondly, the villagers' legal campaign against demolition orders continues. I gather that one house has now received the formal demolition order - but no date for the demolition is ever given in these cases. No one knows when it will happen until the soldiers and demolition equipment turns up. So, no houses, trees, water reservoirs, or terracing has been demolished yet. However, everyone is now very stressed and worried.

Thirdly, the dynamiting that those of us who travelled there saw is continuing. The Israelis are doing it to remove large rocks and flatten areas above the village ready for settlement building. When we were there, we saw how close it was to the school and how cracks were appearing in the school building.

Well, one nearby house - home to 12 people - has now been very badly affected. The house has large cracks and the owners are very upset and worry about its safety. They fear the dynamiting has affected the foundations.

The IDF drive through the village most days and settlers (mainly young men) have begun visiting it, carrying at least one gun amongst them. They walk in the valley by the crops and, last summer, they swam in the water reservoirs!

If you can find time to bring these developments to the attention of your MP, I know the people in Wadi Fuqeen would be very grateful.

BACKGROUND

The village of Wadi Fuqeen is situated 12 km southwest of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank. It is currently home to around 1,200 people.

Lying deep in a rich agricultural valley, it is situated on the Green Line, with the Israeli town of Tsoor Haddasa overlooking it on one side and the illegal settlement of Beitar Illit fast encroaching on the other. Indeed, Beitar Illit has a rapidly growing population, which now exceeds 20,000.

The villagers security and livelihood is seriously compromised because the revised route of the eight-metre high separation wall is set to leave the village almost completely enclosed. Their access to and from the village will be severely restricted. It is, at this point in time, understood that access will be via an underpass and gate.

In addition to this, the people of Wadi Fuqeen and another three villages to the south west of Bethlehem have recently received an order from the headquarters of the Israeli army stating that it is to lay hands on lands stretching for 10,560 metres and with a width of 130metres. The total area at issue covers 756.5 dunams.

The order has left the small village of Wadi Fuqeen in crisis. It threatens its very existence. Without the land, its future is seriously at risk.

The villages fertile agricultural lands are the main source of living for many Palestinian families. Losing a large proportion of those lands will cause severe hardship for many, many of the villages residents.

The area due to be seized has been cultivated by the villagers' ancestors from time immemorial. It is land the villagers inherited from the forefathers.

The villagers are going to be imprisoned on the valley floor with no room left for expansion of any kind - and they will be isolated from neighbouring villages, Bethlehem, and the rest of the West Bank. This will cause severe hardship and deprivation.

Briefing material taken from that issued by ICAHD UK

The security of the Palestinian village, WADI FUQEEN, has long been undermined by the ongoing expansion of the neighbouring illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit and the progress of the Separation Wall. The wall is now mapped to isolate the village from the West Bank, with loss of land, livelihood and basic human rights. Several residents have now been served with demolition and evacuation orders.

Background

Wadi Fuqeen is a village of about 1,200 people, 12 kms southwest of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.

Lying deep in a rich agricultural valley, it is situated on the Green Line, with the Israeli town of Tsoor Haddasa overlooking it on one side and the illegal settlement of Beitar Illit, with a growing population, now exceeding 20,000, fast encroaching from the other.

Of 419 Palestinian villages completely destroyed when the State of Israel was established, Wadi Fuqeen alone was allowed to re-build twenty four years later. The villagers experience as refugees and their stories are related in David Grossman's, The Yellow Wind.

Despite their vulnerability and the restrictions imposed on them by the occupation, these people of Muslim faith have since continued to strive to live in dignity and peace. However, their security and livelihood is now further compromised as the revised route of the Separation Wall will leave the village in a closed zone. The villagers will effectively be imprisoned and Wadi Fuqeen will be isolated from neighbouring villages, Bethlehem and the rest of the West Bank, causing severe hardship and deprivation and threatening their very existence.

Demolition Orders

Separate demolition and removal orders were served by the Israeli authorities in March 2005, February 2005 and November 2004 relating to one house, 3 water wells, terraces, rock walls and over 600 trees. The water wells, built by villagers, with funds from the EU, are part of a World Vision reclamation project to rehabilitate agricultural lands in order to help residents gain a source of income from farming. Similar orders were issued in April 2004 on other wells, terraces and reclaimed lands when dunams of land were appropriated. In total over 30 new notifications have been received affecting several families. If the orders are not complied with, or a legal appeal not lodged in time, the Israeli Authorities will carry out the demolitions at disproportionate expense to the villagers.

The legal orders rest on the Israeli assumption that the land has always been state land to which the villagers have no rights. Thus, when the villagers are cut off from the land in question either by the separation barrier or road barrier, the Israeli Authorities can refute any claim of hardship or suffering by denying them ownership.

The expropriations in Wadi Fuqeen, as part of the Wall scheme, are typical of the widespread policy of settlement expansion, land-grab and population transfer which continues to change the facts on the ground in the Occupied Territories and to undermine the future possibility of a viable Palestinian state.

JOINT INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN

World Vision, West Bethlehem Area Development Programme (WV ADP), the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, Jerusalem and UK, ICAHD ICAHD UK and members of Friends of the Earth Middle East, FoEME are co-operating with Wadi Fuqeen Future Vision Society to respond to the threat against water cisterns and other property in Wadi Fuqeen in a joint international campaign to raise awareness through international advocacy, legal action and ecotourism.

Illegal settlement expansion in Hadar Betar and Beitar Illit continues to encroach on village land and to overshadow the village itself. Thousands of tons of earth have been deposited on olive orchards in the valley and sewage effluent from the settlement overflows onto village fields.

The Wall, now mapped along the Green line to the NW of Wadi Fuqeen, is likely to take the form of a fence. An associated closed buffer zone could be over 200 metres wide and will trap the village in a thin corridor on the floor of the valley. Community expansion will be impossible.

A four lane regional highway passing through the valley is planned, to connect Gush Etzion and Beitar Illit with the Tsoor Haddasa Husan road. This constitutes a major threat to the community socially, economically and environmentally, through loss of land, access, services and opportunity to grow. The exact route is not known but plans suggest that the road may cut the village off completely from their cultivated agricultural lands to the south.

Land appropriations are likely to be massive, but in common with other towns and villages affected, little warning is given and uncertainty creates instability and worry.

Access to and from Wadi Fuqeen and the rest of the West Bank is expected to be severely restricted. It is not clear what means of passage will exist across the settler by-pass road No. 375 at the northern end of the village to allow controlled access to neighbouring Husan and thereby to the Israeli checkpoint at Al Khader. This will still be the villagers only point of access to Bethlehem and the West Bank and they will have no guaranteed or straightforward access to friends and family, food and supplies, hospitals and medical services, places of work, education and worship.

The United Nations office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories UNOCHA oPt and The Legal Affairs Department of the PLO has appraised these details, but the speculative nature of much of the information available reflects a pattern, already observed throughout the West Bank, with respect to settlements and the Wall. Deliberate lack of clarity from the Israeli authorities creates uncertainty and confusion, which in turn hinders an effective legal response.

UK and International Involvement Wadi Fuqeen has featured in many fact-finding and solidarity visits in recent years, involving Friends of Sabeel, World Vision and Experience Travel Tours.

Reading Twinning group and Christ the Cornerstone Church, Milton Keynes are linked with the village and numerous individuals have personal connections. In 2002, through Hope for the Wadi, a team of artists spent two weeks in the village leading art therapy workshops for the schoolchildren.

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) has been monitoring the water situation in the village for the last 18 months and facilitates mutual cooperation on environmental issues with concerned citizens in neighbouring Tsoor Haddasa, on the Israeli side of the Green Line, who support the campaign. World Vision, Jerusalem (WVJ) and their West Bethlehem Area Development Project (ADP) have facilitated a number of projects, including a medical centre and a new kindergarten, opened in September 2003, with funds from ECHO - the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid Office. UK based charity Dove and Dolphin administrates and helps fund kindergarten salaries. Action around Bethlehem for Children with a Disability (ABCD) have worked with children in the village. Norwegian People Aid have recently provided the village with 160 sheep which have been distributed amongst the poorest families.

Photos (2005)

Selling the group at a local festival

Wadi Fuqeen photos (2006)

The devastation brought about by the complete disregard for Palestinian land rights by Israeli colonialists

The town is now surrounded and enclosed by Jewish only settlements

Guardian article

Israeli barrier and settlement to leave West Bank village with nowhere to go

Land confiscation and pollution threaten future of ancient farming community

www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1934737,00.html

Rory McCarthy in Wadi Fukin

Monday October 30, 2006

Guardian ( UK )

From his rooftop, Mohammad Ibrahim can see from one end to the other of the narrow valley that contains the village of Wadi Fukin . Beyond houses bunched around the tall minaret of the mosque is terraced farmland, most of it covered with olive trees or planted deep in cabbage, cucumber, radish, lettuce and squash, irrigated by dozens of small reservoir pools linked to the valley's 11 ancient springs.

It is this view of Wadi Fukin, a village of 1,200 Palestinians just inside the occupied West Bank , that has long attracted Israeli tourists, who hike and swim in the reservoirs. The ancient farming practices have created a "unique cultural landscape" deserving of world heritage status, says Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of Friends of the Earth Middle East.

But this is no longer all Mr Ibrahim sees. On the hills to the south and east of the village is a rapidly expanding ultra-orthodox Jewish settlement built on Palestinian land seized by the Israeli government and declared "state land".

On the opposite hills, to the north and west, is the proposed route for the latest stretch of the vast concrete and steel West Bank barrier. The 437-mile barrier is halfway complete and work continues despite a July 2004 advisory opinion from the international court of justice in The Hague, which said it was a violation of international law and should be taken down where it crosses into the West Bank. Israel argues that the barrier is a necessary security measure that has reduced the number of suicide bombings.

Within months, the village will be sandwiched between the growing settlement of Beitar Illit and the barrier, with a large chunk of its farmland gone. Confiscation orders have been issued for land that villagers have cultivated for generations. Mr Ibrahim was told that 12 hectares (30 acres) of his father's land is to be taken.

"I think the worst is yet to come," said Mr Ibrahim, 50, a teacher at the village primary school. "We are totally dependent on that farmland." He believes the settlement and the barrier together are designed to squeeze out the villagers. "I think what they want is that after they have done this there will come a time when we call a taxi to take us out of here for good," he said.

Local concern

Mr Ibrahim's neighbour Abu Mazen works with him on a village committee against the barrier and is equally concerned. "At the beginning I was full of hope that the wall wouldn't be put into place because of the crowds that visit. But the reality tells me they are going to build this wall," he said. "They are the ones dividing two communities from each other."

Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was elected in the spring on a policy of withdrawing from some of the smaller West Bank settlements and annexing larger blocs behind a new, unilaterally drawn final border. Since the Lebanon war, that policy has been shelved. But the reality on the ground is that the military occupation continues and the settlements and the barrier grow apace.

Since construction started in Beitar Illit in 1985 its population has increased to 28,000 and it is now one of the fastest growing settlements in the West Bank . In May, the Israeli defence minister and Labour leader, Amir Peretz, issued an expansion order for Beitar Illit and three other West Bank settlements - the first such order for some years. In September, tenders were issued for 342 new houses in the settlement and now homes are being built, with truck-loads of rubble dumped down the hillsides every few minutes. Overflow pipes regularly eject raw sewage on to some of the village fields, forcing farmers to stop growing crops.

"Beitar Illit is the biggest construction site in the West Bank . It has enormous growth every year," said Dror Etkes, who runs Settlement Watch at the Israeli organisation Peace Now. Houses are on sale at much cheaper prices than in Jerusalem , 10 miles away, and cheap, regular transport is laid on for settlers heading into the capital.

The settlement's expansion is in defiance of the 2003 "road map" for peace negotiations put forward by the US , Europe, Russia and the UN, which calls for a freeze in settlement activity.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority has failed to live up to road map commitments to halt violence and dismantle militant groups.

Like other Palestinian villages threatened by settlements or the arrival of the barrier, Wadi Fukin is hoping to fight its case in court. But the village has also found support from within Israel . Friends of the Earth has campaigned hard to protect the valley, warning that the recharge of the village springs is threatened by the expansion of the settlement and the arrival of the barrier, which here will be a 50-metre-wide strip of land including a steel fence with barbed wire barriers, a ditch, two patrol roads, two "intrusion-tracking dirt roads" and observation cameras.

Israelis in the town of Tzur Hadassah , which is over the hill from Wadi Fukin, have also taken up the campaign. Some are motivated by ecological concerns, others by political opposition to the settlements and the barrier.

Dudy Tzfati, 45, a lecturer in biology and genetics at Hebrew University and one of the campaigners from Tzur Hadassah, admits that not everyone in the town supports their work. "Most of the mainstream like the concept of separation and the idea of the fence, to not have to see the Palestinians and the suffering, to have them behind a wall and then we won't have to deal with what is going on there," he said.

Partly as a result of lobbying from the Israeli side, a senior defence ministry official visited Wadi Fukin and Tzur Hadassah last week to listen to the concerns, although there is no indication of any change in the plans for the settlement or barrier.

Scepticism Among villagers, there was deep scepticism at first about the support from their Israeli neighbours. Some are still doubtful about their motivation. "They are helping us because they want it to be a reservation, like a national park. They are Israeli citizens and will ultimately think for their own benefit," said Jamal Hamid, 46, a farmer living at the north end of the village.

However, many appear to have accepted the support gratefully. "These people are very fair," said Atef Manasra, an Arabic teacher at the village school. "The difference between the people of Tzur Hadassah and the settlers in Beitar Illit is like the difference between the sky and the earth."

Yet few believe the campaign by either side will be enough to change Wadi Fukin's future and villagers worry about a future isolated from the markets in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and from access to the rest of the West Bank . "This wall is nothing to do with security," said Mr Ibrahim. "On the contrary it is to besiege the Palestinian people economically, to prevent workers from working inside Israel and, most importantly, to consume more land."

The Settlements and their Sewage - www.counterpunch.org/christison09242005.html

By Redress Information & Analysis

19 April 2008 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE3tHPwmnSQ

The authorities in the illegal Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, which is built on stolen Palestinian land, regularly open their sewage tanks on to the farmlands of the Palestinian village of Wadi Fuqeen, ruining crops, contaminating the water table and posing a serious health threat to villagers.

A picture is worth a thousand word. The video below is both instructive and appalling. It sums up the character of the Jewish settlers – the misfits, thieves and squatters from the United States, Europe, the former Soviet Union and elsewhere who are stealing and blighting Palestinian lands in increasing number – and it exposes the deep-seated racism that underlies their contempt for Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular.

At least twice a month, starting on Friday afternoons and continuing for a large part of the following day, the authorities in the illegal Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit, which is built on land stolen from the neighbouring Palestinian village of Wadi Fuqeen, near Bethlehem, open their sewage tanks on to the farmlands of the vilage. As the video shows, the sewage, which runs through specially-built pipelines that open on to the slopes leading to Wadi Fuqeen, accumulates on the Palestinian farmlands, poisoning crops, contaminating the water table and posing a serious health threat to villagers.

Efforts by the Palestinians of Wadi Fuqeen and some Israeli peace activists to persuade the Israeli authorities so stop this appalling and disgraceful behaviour have come to nothing. The “mayor” of the illegal Beitar Illit settlement even had the audacity to suggest that this is a Palestinian problem and that they, the Palestinians, not the Jewish producers of the sewage, should find a way, such as constructing an aquaduct, to divert the Jewish sewage away from their farmlands.

Copyright © 2000-2008 Redress Information & Analysis. All rights reserved.

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