Water, Settlements, and Prisoners, Oh My


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Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus
July 9th 2009
Published: July 9th 2009
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Doctor Sa'ed and our expert on settlement activity in the surrounding villages
These are scant entries, but I'm mad busy with work here.

Water Issues

Among other things, the Israeli consumption of water is four to five times the Palestinian consumption rate. The settlements are seven to eight times the Palestinian consumption

About 25% of the local communities go completely without water.

I read a statistic the other day, saying that the average consumption among the Palestinians is 10-15 liters a day. That, I think was the average 5 years ago- I am realistic enough, and know enough about the situation now, to assume that it’s worse.

In any case, 10-15? I originally thought: not so bad. (basita) I mean, I try and finish 2 litres of water a day, and that leaves me sloshing around back home (and still dehydrated here. People weren’t meant to live at such temperatures). But then you think: showers. Washing dishes. Flushing the toilet! Cooking in general. 10-15 puts into the perspective how my Palestinian friends offer me the use of their shower repeatedly. I joked ‘do I smell?’ but then I realized: this is a means of hospitality. “you may use my extremely limited water.’ (not to mention that this is
Fara'a Interrogation CenterFara'a Interrogation CenterFara'a Interrogation Center

Pretty much every man of this age has spent time in this prison, tortured, and questioned.
the AVERAGE, and income disparity here and access is widely skewed between have and have-nots)

The Israelis control the entire way along the Jordan river as a ‘military’ security zone- interesting how ‘security’ can justify a whole mess of abuses. One of my friends told me that it wouldn’t be completely out of line for the Israelis to have engineered 911. They’ve used it enough to justify the occupation.
In any case, Jordan takes some of the Jordan river (ironic, it’s named after Jordan) and the Israelis get the rest. The Palestinians get none, and on top of it, they are completely isolated and cut off from any arab neighbor by the Israeli military control of the bank. They are surrounded on all sides by the enemy. Not to sound overly dramatic. (funny how ‘overexaggerating’, of which I am continually guilty, actually rarely applies when I’m describing the situation. Please, truly, take everything I’m saying at face value, because, shocking as it is, it’s the truth)

Palestinians are not even allowed to better their situation. They are not allowed to dig wells on their own land, or, should they manage to navigate the insane bureaucratic and discriminatory Israeli
Water ProblemsWater ProblemsWater Problems

as documented by Waterman.
administration and receive a license, they are severely limited in depth and location of the wells they wish to dig.
82% of the groundwater, 100% of the Jordan river, and 90% of the runoff is used and controlled by the Israelis.

This all, obviously, leads to intense food insecurity. In the most basic of all basic human rights.
The three main elements are land, man, and water. 60% of Palestinian land is still under control by the Israelis through settlements - west bank lands- 11,000 prisoners+ are in Israeli prisons, and the water is completely governed by Israelis.

On top of everything else, the settlements dump their wastes into traditional Palestinian lands. We went to a former lush valley, and lets just say that the former drinkable water is …well, let the picture do the talking.

As one of the leaders said, the mentality of the Israelis is as follows: “what’s in our hands is ours, what’s in your hands is yours…and ours.”

A further presentation on settlements in villages:

Israel is using semantics to justify its claim to the land. It’s not calling it an ‘occupation’, but rather refer to the Palestinian lands as
Wadi KanaWadi KanaWadi Kana

the beautiful landscape that is being taken over
‘disputed territory’. In the village of Aqraba, near Nablus, “Israeli authorities are trying to change the history and change the landscape in order to justify their claims.” For example, the historical artifacts that archaeological digs that are being discovered (and need I remind my readers that we are in the land of Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed, containing, among others, the oldest city in existence) are being framed in a Jewish context in order to justify Israeli control. Aqraba is part of the most fertile valley left under Palestinian control; it used to be the ‘bread basket’ for the area, feeding all for miles. Now it can’t even feed is increasingly scant population (as people are being pushed off their lands by settler growth and violence).

Under Israeli law, anyone who chooses to leave their land (read: often forced. Semantics again) renounce their claim to this land and this is thus eligible to be confiscated by Israeli authorities. I recently watched an Al Jazeera report discussing how this land, which, under international law, is to be held by the occupying government in safety, is being sold to private investors for government profit.
The settlements in the Aqraba area and further around
SettlerSettlerSettler

Walking through the area- right where we saw settlers hucking rocks at Palestinian cars.
Nablus are considered the worst settlers in the west bank. We drove past a settlement, and saw a tent pitched near the side of the road. Seeing the settlers in there, I realized that these settlers sit there to throw rocks at Palestinian cars. The settlers in the 10+ settlements around Nablus (starting in 69) boast the highest death rate, especially targeting shepherd Palestinians. 15 of the surrounding Palestinian villages now depend on rainfall because they no longer have any access to the abundant groundwater resources in the area are being used for use in the settlements. Words such as ‘military zones’ or ‘natural reserves’ are pushing locals off their land. There is harsh punishment for noncompliance.

Speaking of harsh punishment…

We had a panel entirely composed of former Palestinian prisoners. They were part of the current almost 11,500 prisoners now imprisoned in Israeli jails.

9,000+ of these prisoners are Arabs living within the ‘inside’- within Israel’s borders

Some of these prisoners are mothers. A LOT of these prisoners are children (ages 17 and under). Israeli, for sure, hasn’t followed the convention of the rights of the child. Among many others.

I recently read a
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Of Ex Palestinian Prisoners, who spent between them over 15 years in interrogation centers and prisons
book by the Addameer Association here in Palestine, describing the techniques of torture used on Palestinian prisoners. Unbelievable, ridiculous, outrageous, repulsive! Beatings are more than common, and hooding victims, forcing food strikes, intensive sleep deprivation, solitary confinement. Normally, doctors are in on it, giving ill prisoners a clean bill of health (able to endure the ‘moderate physical pressure’ deemed necessary by the Israeli government), almost 200 have died from medical neglect.

Families equally suffer, as they are deprived of visitation rights.
Proportionately, the amount of Palestinian prisoners currently in jail is anywhere from 20 to 60 million Americans.

More than 40% of all children improved are from the Nablus governate, being the city most violated by isreali soldiers, and children are routinely imprisoned for no reason other than deterrence.

“From my point of view, all we need is justice. To have our children live a normal life like those of the Israelis.” -presenter

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As a scant ending, I quote Hal Sirowitz:

"If ignorance is bliss...shouldn't you be looking blissful?"

The ignorance of the situation here is appalling.

Stacey



Additional photos below
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Manager of the CenterManager of the Center
Manager of the Center

(now a youth camp) describing being hung up, handcuffed, in the hot sun, only able to stand on tiptoes
Writing on the WallWriting on the Wall
Writing on the Wall

The only way to pass time in the cells. But you can get beaten for it.


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