Combatants for Peace is a bi-national movement of people from both sides who have been involved in armed conflict, and who have decided to throw down their arms and pursue the goal of ‘two states for two people’ through dialogue and non violence.
They met recently in Yatma. This is a photo of the meeting.
Not only houses are demolished by Israeli occupation authorities.
Schools are also targets of demolitions, as the occupation seeks to ensure that Palestinian communities are restricted to the areas assigned to them and are not permitted to expand into what are considered Israeli controlled ‘security zones’. (Illegal Israeli settlements are generally permitted by the Israeli authorities, however).
It isn’t believed that any of the Yatma schools are threatened be demolition orders, because they are located in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
However there are as many as 2o schools throughout the West Bank which have been allegedly constructed in violation of Israeli occupation laws and have been subjected to demolition orders. These orders have been appealed and demolitions held in abeyance. But recently Israeli courts promised to speed up consideration of appeals. Because appeals are generally rejected, we can expect that there will be a surge in school demolitions in 2012.
Several homes in Yatma are threatened by demolition by Israeli occupation forces.
Yatma is completely surrounded by the highly restrictive ‘Area C’, which gives occupation forces complete control over all activities, including home development. (On this map Yatma is in yellow, Area C is in white). 60 % of West Bank land is designated Area C, generally off limits for Palestinians to build on.
Palestinians are rarely given permission to build in Area C, even though it may be the only place left to build in growing Palestinian communities. (Settlers frequently build houses on Palestinian land designated Area C, and are rarely challenged).
Several houses built in Yatma have been threatened with demolition, and there has been pressure by Israeli militants to have demolition orders enforced. However there has been no action by Israeli authorities for several years.
This week, Haretz reported that the Israeli State Attorney’s office has promised to expedite consideration of appeals to demolition orders, which will certainly result in demolition of more Palestinian houses and schools. House demolition was already up substantially in 2011 over 2010, probably the result mostly of demolitions in East Jerusalem, and the result of demolitions of Bedouin homes.
Anyone wanting to join others in rebuilding Palestinian houses demolished by occupation forces should contact the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, who run a ‘Summer Rebuilding Camp’.
Amnesty is running a major campaign to stop home demolitions and are asking for help.
As near as we have been able to ascertain the olive harvest at Yatma went of without serious incident this year. The olive harvest is an important cultural time of year for Palestinians and provides an considerable portion of the year’s income for many families.
The olive harvest frequently brings residents and settlers into conflict as Palestinians’ olive groves are often adjacent to illegal settlements. At the time of the harvest militant settlers often take advantage of the occasion to attack harvesters, and to assert their control over olive groves near settlements. Yatma has been the site of conflict in the past. Many see it as part of an organised campaign against Palestinians.
There were frequent incidents in the West Bank in 2011, but Yatma has apparently been spared this year. Here is a collection of 95 photos or a recent Yatma olive harvest, posted by Combatants for Peace. It isn’t certain what year these photos were taken.
There are a very large number of Palestinians in Israeli jails. Some of these are in jail for violent resistance against the occupation, but many are in jail for minor infractions at checkpoints or involvement in demonstrations. People involved in criminal activities are normally dealt with by the Palestinians authorities.
Many of those in Israeli jails are juveniles, often arrested for stone throwing. Under occupation rules, Palestinian juveniles are treated more harshly than Israeli juveniles for the same infractions.
Hastings Friends of Yatma recently attempted to discover how many residents of Yatma were in jail. It seems that in November there were approximately 10 Yatma residents in Israeli jails, as well as three recently released. We didn’t get information about the ages are reasons for incarceration.