Ciarab's Blog


Abu Nidals personal story . . .
June 9, 2010, 12:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
    On Tuesday, June 8th 2010 Israeli bulldozers and the Israeli army  started destroying the land belonging to Ahmed Barghouth, Abu Nidal.

    Abu Nidal hours after uprooting and destruction of his trees and land by the Israeli authorities.

    The destruction is part of the Israeli plan to annex the land of his town (Al Walajah in Bethlehem) through constructing a wall around the town. Ahmed Barghouth was one of the very first farmers to plant olive trees from the Olive Tree Campaign (2002). His family harvested olives from these trees 2 years ago and this season was promising for him as the trees were bearing more olives than last season. 90% of Al Walaja has now been confiscated.

    Jamal Barghouth holding destroyed walnut trees

    I have personally visited this farm on several occasions. It is located on a hilltop in Bethlehem. The local people in the village are so inviting and every time I have visited, my friends and I have been invited to eat with the families of which all the food comes from their farms.

    Cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, limes and apricots which the family produce jam from, all of which come from Abu Nidals farm.

    Yesterday the  Israeli military  destroyed a 70 year old pine tree as well as many other almond and old walnut trees. “Is this the fate of my land and my family?”, Abu Nidal asked us while watching bulldozers ruining his land and uprooting his trees.

    The previous time I visited this tree had a Palestinian flag waving at its top. I was astonished at how someone could possibly climb such a tall tree! Then yesterday it was so sad to see the tree had been cut by the Israelis. Standing beside this tree I would look like a dot.

    The only section they haven’t destroyed yet is the burial place of his mother and other members of his family. By this destruction, the state of Israel is building a wall on his 20 dunums of land, leaving him only 2 dunums and destroying what will be left on the other side of the wall.

    You can see the clear pathway which will be the route of a ten metre high wall. The Israeli authorities claim this wall is for security reasons, however if that was true, they would have built it on the Green line of 1947.

    Israel could have built this Apartheid Wall on the green line (the West Bank borders) which is about 1kilometre away from Ahmed’s land and leave the residents of Walaja’s property to them, or, just shift the destruction to a piece of land that is not agricultural, which is only 10 meters away from the land planted with olive trees. But instead, Israel decided to build its wall through the olive groves, claiming that it is not possible to build the wall anywhere else for technical and security reasons, as if Israel’s security and technology could not avoid the theft and destruction of this farmer’s land.

    On Tuesday more than 15 young Israeli soldiers fully armed were present in the area to prevent local and international protesters from stopping the bulldozers destroying Abu Nidals land.

    The Israeli  plan, represented mainly by the construction of the Apartheid Wall, has a negative and destructive impact on Al Walaja. The  Wall will extend for 6.3km on Al Walaja lands; thus isolating and confiscating 4209 dunums of the village territory (97 percent of the total area of the village). The majority of this land is agricultural land, forests, and open areas.  This is in addition to the annexation of the Israeli settlements, Gilo and Har Gilo, to Israel.

    Moreover, this Apartheid Wall will surround Al Walaja village from its east, west and north sides. As for its southern side, there is a fortified road, controlled by the Israeli army, alongside a bypass road which is considered the only outlet available for the village residents who are heading towards Bethlehem city. Also, the southern part of Al Walaja will be surrounded by 2.4km wall, along the another bypass road, which will be protected from both sides with ditches and barbed wires (ranging between 80 and 100 meters wide). In general, the wall will isolate the village from other Palestinian villages in the rural west and the major cities in Bethlehem governorate.

    These trees are Abu Nidals main form of livelihood and would usually provide the families annual supply of olive oil.

    The Olive Tree Campaign as well as all other organizations involved with farmers in Al Walaja know that the Israeli’s plan is to annex as much land as possible from Al Walaja and Beit Jala to build another Israeli settlement called Givat Yael (map above).

    Ahmed Barghout – Abu Nidal, has done everything is his power to keep his land, from seeking justice in the Israel courts to getting the media involved and to calling on friends to protest against the destruction of his land. But all these actions have not stopped this Israeli destruction. The only thing Israel did before starting the destruction was send personnel from the Israeli Antiquities Authority to check on the site making sure that they won’t ruin archeological sites! Makes it seem like Israel cares more about not ruining the past while proceeding in ruining the present and destroying peoples futures.  My friends and I in Bethlehem call on Sponsors, friends and partners to help bring Abu Nidal’s story to the spotlight.

    As you can see the clear path of the wall which will take over all of these vines, olive trees and gardens.

    We call on Sponsors, friends and partners to help bring Abu Nidal’s story to the spotlight, as well as send a letter to the Israeli representatives in your countries with a copy to the media. See suggested letter.

    Also, Please call on the representatives of your country in Israel to seek an explanation from Israeli authorities on this matter, and perhaps pay a visit to Abu Nidal’s land and his family.

    Action is needed now more than ever before.

    Here are more trees which have been marked for uprooting by the Israeli authorities. Also in the distance you can see one illegal settlement housing Jewish settlers allowing no access to Palestinians even though this settlement is built on their land. This further displaces palestinians in their own land due to house demolitions by Israeli authorities in order to build these illegal settlements. The world has called on a freeze of settlements but Israel ignored this call and are further expanding these settlements.

    Read more on Al Walaja here http://proxy.arij.org/vprofile/bethlehem/pdfs/VP/Al%20Walaja_vp_en.pdf

    Suggested letter, To Israeli embassy

    To: Please find the contact details of Israeli embassy in your country here http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/IsraeliAbroad/Continents

    We have received some disturbing news today on the destruction of olive trees planted by the olive tree campaign in 2003 in Al Walaja. The olive trees were planted on land owned by a Palestinian farmer named Ahmad Barghouth. The destruction of these olive trees is to pave the way for the Israeli barrier built illegally inside the West Bank. As a result of this, Ahmad Barghouth who has already lost trees will lose a further 18 dunums of his land and be left with only 2 dunums. The Israeli authorities who are building the wall refused to shift the destruction to a nearby area where less damage would occur and instead decided to destroy Ahmad Barghouths property. Furthermore, the plan also sets out to annex the maximum size of the land so it will be available for the construction of a new Israeli – Jewish only settlement inside the West Bank called Givat Ya’el. I believe it is totally immoral to forcibly annex somebody’s property so it can be freely used by someone else. I am afraid what The Israeli Authorities are doing makes this sound like Ahmad Barghouth is being punished for not being Jewish and resulting in the illegal confiscation of his land.

    As sponsors and supporters of The Olive Tree Campaign’s mission to Keep Hope Alive and for Palestinians and Palestinian farmers we call on you to help with the following:

    1-    An immediate halt to the destruction of the land.

    2-    Moving the root of the wall to the green line.

    3-    Compensation to each and every sponsor for the 80 olive trees destroyed.

    4-    Compensation to Ahmad Barghouth for the destruction of his trees and land.

    5-    A clear Israeli commitment to eliminate the already approved plans to build the settlement of Givat Ya’el on the land of Al Walaja and other Palestinians’ land.

    We are looking forward to your response to this.

    Signed

    __________________________________________________________

    Wednesday 4th June 2010.

    Two friends of mine were arrested this morning by the Israeli soldiers in the same place as above. One who is from Israel and the other who is Palestinian were arrested after attempting to stop the bulldozers from uprooting more trees on Abu Nidals land. One friend chained himself to the bulldozer and the other was recording the events and for these reasons were detained by the Israeli soldiers. Here is a link to the news report.

    Later yesterday my friends were released one with false charges brought against him and fines were imposed and warnings were given to stay away from the wall for 30 days! Videos of destruction of land are below. And can I also ask you to sign the letter and send it to the Israeli ambassador or representative in your country. Also the destruction continues so I will keep you updated about Abu Nidals situation.

    Heartbreaking video of devastation Tuesday June 8th at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrbMP9hRNeo
    And the action and arrests on Wednesday June 9th
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9rdBX0pvv0

    Click here for some professionally taken photos of the destruction and demonstrations taking place in Al Walaja.



The Palestinian Struggle.
June 8, 2010, 9:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Living in Bethlehem in the Westbank is an experience that I will cherish. The people here are friendly and welcoming, they are generous and honest. They appreciate foreigners coming here to enjoy the amazing landscapes and beautiful historical sites but ever more importantly being a witness to their struggle and sharing my experiences with others at home is something that they are truly grateful for and encourage. It makes this experience more worth while knowing that I can create an awareness of what is happening by sharing their experiences with others. It is difficult to continually suppress your anger here when you witness the Palestinians struggle in the Westbank. Also what is more disheartening is that they are completely isolated from their fellow Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. They have friends, families and relatives living in Gaza but because of the illegal Israeli occupation and restrictions on travel they are denied access to visit each other in both places. However, the Palestinians continue with their everyday activities however limited or restricted they are due to the occupation, and this is seen as part of the struggle for a free Palestine. By writing this blog it alleviates the anger and frustration inside when I witness the racist and discriminatory treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government, the israeli military and also the jewish settlers. The Palestinian people are also very grateful to anyone who is part of any form of protest or demonstration against Israel through whatever method is possible for each individual. The events of the past week and a half have exposed the Israeli government and has shown Israel as a racist, apartheid, undemocratic, zionist state. They have shown their true colours and hopefully you have seen this too.