Monthly Archives: December 2012

School bags for Yatma children are big hit!

When she was in Yatma recently HFOY activist Gill Knight learned that the community had expressed a need for 25 ‘school bags’ for the poorest Yatma children. Hastings Friends of Yatma agreed to fund the bags.

The school bags are backpacks filled with school supplies which are often out of reach for the poorest families in Yatma. Below are some photos from the day the school bags were distributed:

Sign acknowledging Hastings Friends of Yatma

Sign acknowledging Hastings Friends of Yatma

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Yatma children with new school supplies

Yatma children with new school supplies

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نائلة 573 نائلة 574

 

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Filed under Education, Hastings Friends of Yatma, HFOY projects in Yatma, Yatma

Israeli Occupation Army plans to demolish 21 Yatma houses

We have received news that the Israeli army plans to demolish 21 homes in Yatma, after they were ordered to by Israeli courts. Residents of the homes had until Thursday (yesterday) to appeal, but to date we have not heard the outcome.

The mayor of the village, Abdulmunem Jibril, said the demolitions would leave 150-200 people homeless and expressed surprise at the move because there were no settlements in the immediate area. He said the move by the Israeli government was likely to please settlers in the run up to Israeli elections.

Once the appeal process has been exhausted, houses could be demolished at any time, without warning. Typically residents find the demolition crew and army on their doorstep, are given a few minutes to remove their possessions, and the house is razed.

Since the successful recognition bid by Palestininans at the UN in November, the Israeli government has accelerated the replacement of Palestinians by Jewish settlers, by initiating large housing projects on Palestinian land in the Jerusalem area, and now by expanding the rate of demolition of Palestinian homes.

For background on the house demolition threat in Yatma, please see these previous articles. Yatma home demolitions threatened again 13 Homes Face Demolition in Yatma Also, see this account of a home demolition in a nearby village, witnessed by HFOY member Gill Knight in November 2012.

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Filed under Hastings Friends of Yatma, Home demolitions, Israeli occupation forces

School Supplies Project

Hastings Friends of Yatma have embarked on a project to provide school supplies for poor children in Yatma.

The Palestinian economy, controlled by Israel, is very depressed. Many families find it hard to come up with the yearly school fee. But Palestinians hold education highly, so by helping with this initiative, you can help in the education of their children.

The Mother’s School Society in Yatma have identified 25 children in poor families who need a school bag with stationery—pen, pencil, etc. and writing books. Without this basic equipment, these children are often embarrassed to go to school, and may even drop out.

£15.00 will cover the cost of the bag and stationary for one child.

To find out how to donate, check the donation pages on this site.

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A Jubilant Ramallah and Reality on the Ground

It’s UN vote day and, as I leave Ramallah to go to stay with my friends Boshra and Nargi in Nabi Saleh, the atmosphere is already festive in Ramallah. Pal flags waving, a stage going up in Arafat Square, a woman leading a small chanting crowd, boys wanting their photo taken. After the sombre grief that accompanied Rushdi’s funeral procession, when even the traffic was halted, and the demonstrations for Gaza, the Ramallah mood has changed just in the space of two weeks.

Announcing the new Palestinian state in Ramallah

Announcing the new Palestinian state in Ramallah

Palestinians happy about the new state of Palestine

Palestinians happy about the new state of Palestine

Being interviewed about the new state of Palestine

Being interviewed about the new state of Palestine

Later in Nabi Saleh, there is elation too as some shabbab* and family watch the news as the UN vote is announced. Ba’ha, the village’s best singer and a stand up comedian to boot, is practising new lyrics for the next day’s demo.

'Shebabb' (youth) cheer the UN vote

‘Shebabb’ (youth) cheer the UN vote

But the vote makes no difference to the Israeli Occupation Force’s behaviour at the Friday Demonstration, where the new lyrics celebrating the UN success are jubilantly sung to traditional tunes. Skunk water is in more abundance, there is no wind to carry it away, and we all run up the road as usual, while the shabbab take up their positions. The tear gas firing is relatively brief so everyone repairs to the hill (or mountain as they call it) overlooking the highway, Halamish settlement, and the village spring, to wait for the solders to disperse the crowd, which they eventually do. (Apparently they are going to train US troops with urban tactics…..I could do it at half the price – just make stinky clouds by shooting tear gas and add some rubber bullets for good measure. Then of course show them how to demolish houses, raze fields, and beat people up!)

Regular Friday protest about settler land seizures in Nabi Saleh

Regular Friday protest about settler land seizures in Nabi Saleh

Israeli army attack demonstrators, skirmish with local youths

Israeli army attack demonstrators, skirmish with local youths

But, no live ammo today.  We watch as one car below with an Palestinian flag waving from its window is stopped by the army below…..is this really the true picture? Statehood in name only?

The ‘demo’ ends, and the shabbab play football in front of Boshra’s house, she cooks a brilliant meal and we all sit on the floor to enjoy, spilling out in to the next room – no one is ever left out. It is the Palestinian way.

Friday meal, after the protest

Friday meal, after the protest

So what are the Palestinians thinking about the UN vote? I hear different opinions all round : from positive reactions or cautious approval to: ‘it’s a joke’. The last was from a taxi driver and probably reflects the cynicism of taxi drivers world wide!

Back in Ramallah, my heart lifts every time I see a Pal flag streaming from a shop, car, or servees, but the reality could be that it’s just a hollow victory. More importantly did it take another Gaza atrocity to give the Pals a limited entry to the international political circus?

Sorry, it’s the taxi driver coming out in me.

I leave Palestine with a heavy heart, but knowing I have learnt some amazing lessons in how to be human from the Palestinians; I am in awe of how they cope with the occupation of their land and their suffering brought about by denial of their human rights.

Stay human!

*’shabab’ is what Palestinians call the boys who harrass the occupation army by throwing stones at them. Shabab mean ‘youth’ in Arabic.

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Filed under Hastings Friends of Yatma, Other communities, Yatma