We need your financial support. As the brutal attacks on Gaza continue, the less visible but nonetheless violent assaults on the West Bank also persist. For over five years now Ta’ayush activists together with activists from other organizations, both local and international, have been struggling against the ongoing attempts to expel the Palestinian cave dwellers from the South Hebron region. In their attempt to force the Palestinians to leave their land, settlers have poisoned water wells and sheep herds, uprooted olive tress, and routinely beaten local Palestinians and activists. In the past year, another silent expulsion has been taking place just south of Bethlehem, where 20,000 Palestinians are rapidly being closed off in an enclave that will ultimately be annexed to Israel (see map below). These Palestinians are cut off from medical services, education, and work. In the past months, Ta’ayush’s money has dwindled and it has become difficult for the movement to pay for basic costs like transportation (to and from Jerusalem) as well as other activity-related expenses. We are therefore asking you to send donations and support our activities in the region.
We would like to raise $12,000 in this current fund drive. Checks made out to Ta’ayush (in shekels, dollars, and euros) can be sent to Neve Gordon, Mishol Motza # 7 apt 56, Beer-Sheva, Israel. nevegordon@gmail. com
South Hebron Children
The close relationship we have established with the children in South Hebron forms the basis of our relationship with the adults and the community at large. The ability of the children to live a semi-normal life is key for stopping the imminent expulsion of these Palestinians cave dwellers. If the children are unable to go to school the parents will leave the region.
Several years ago we began accompanying the children on their walks to and from school, since they were regularly harassed by settlers. While during this past year the military has taken over the responsibility of accompanying the children, from time to time our activists come to ensure that the military is carrying out its role.
We have organized a car to take the children of Susyia to Al-Twaneh (where the school is located) every morning and to bring them back in the afternoon. We try to pay for the gas and regular up-keep of the car (about $300 a months).
For the past four summers we have organized summer camps for the children. These camps have been very successful and are, in many respects, a ray of light and hope for the children.
We try to buy the children school bags and school equipment at the beginning of each year.
The other way to ensure that the cave dwellers will not be expelled is to guarantee that they can maintain their relationship with their land. In the past few years, their sheep have been poisoned by settlers, their olive trees uprooted, and their field crops destroyed. We see our role as joining them in their struggle to hold on to the land.
Just this past Saturday 25 activists went to help with plowing and their presence in the fields protected the farmers from settler harassment. Six different sites were plowed. To reach the place we hired 2 vans (each one for $120). Thus, the whole activity cost only $240.
At least once a week Ta’ayush activists go to South Hebron for activities of this kind. Depending on the time of year, we work with the farmers plowing, planting olive trees, and harvesting. We spend about $1,000 a month on transportation.
The Palestinians are regularly harassed by the settlers. We have left a cellular phone with one of the inhabitants, and the different residents can use it to call us in cases of emergency. We pay about $75 a month in phone expenses.
We regularly accompany the Palestinian residents to the police station in Hebron to file complaints against settler harassment. Without our company it would be virtually impossible for the residents to reach the police station.
Humanitarianism as a Political Act of Resistance
Although we try not to provide humanitarian assistance, since we consider our work to be political, from time to we spend money helping the inhabitants. When olive trees are uprooted, we help the residents buy trees and we plant them together. When sheep are poisoned we help the cave-dwellers buy sheep. These actions are carried out on an ad hoc basis and are used to strengthen the residents hold on the land.
In addition to activities in South Hebron, we have also been active in the Bethlehem region. As you can see in the attached map about 20,000 residents from the Palestinian villages Battir (population 4,065), Hussan (5,500), Nahalin (6,200), Wadi Fukin (1,160), Wallajeh (1,644), al-Jab’a (900) and about 250 other inhabitants will soon be stuck in an enclave between the Green Line and the separation barrier. They cannot enter Israel and very soon they will be unable to reach Bethlehem, the metropolis center on which they have always been dependent for medical treatment, education, work, supplies and services.
The villages east and south of the enclave, particularly El-Hader, Beit Jala, Beit Omar, Safa and Surif, will loose access to thousands of dunams of their agricultural land. Together with the residents of these regions Ta’ayush activists have been protesting the construction of the separation barrier for weeks on end. Together we go and plow or harvest the lands. These activities do not make it to the mainstream media, while the police and military frequently react very violently to such acts of resistance.
Frequently, the Ta’ayush activists bring with them small olive trees or other farming products to the activities.
The police often arrest activists, Palestinians, Jews and internationals, during protests. They frequently condition their release on the payment of bail. Just a couple of weeks ago four activists were arrested and had to pay $1,500 in order to be released. Thus, Ta’ayush not only had to cover the cost of transportation, but also the bail (see article http://www.palsolid arity.org/ main/2006/ 11/03/khadr- olive-action/ ). The use of bail as a way to fine the activists for their activity is common practice and is employed systematically to undermine the activities.
Again, we need your financial support to continue these activities. Checks made out to Ta’ayush (in shekels, dollars, and euros) can be sent to Neve Gordon, Mishol Motza # 7 apt 56, Beer-Sheva, Israel. nevegordon@gmail. com