Category Archives: Hastings Friends of Yatma
Militant Jewish settlers have attacked and destroyed eight cars in Qabalan, West Bank. All were owned by local residents of the Palestinian village.
Qabalan is the village next to Yatma, about one kilometre southeast. Attacks against villagers by Jewish settlers are almost four times a frequent as in privious years. The settlers scrawled ‘Price tag’ messages on cars and building, a reference to the policy of attacking Palestinians in revenge for perceived threats against the settler movement by the Israeli government.
Two weeks ago residents of Qussra West Bank captured and detained a group of Price Tag attackers before turning them over to the occupation authorities.
In a surprising policy the UK funds the Norwegian Refugee Council, which has a programme to help Palestinians whose homes have been illegally demolished by the Israeli government. Surprising because the UK maintains positive diplomatic relations with Israel, and trade relations amounting to billions of pounds each year. The UK maintains these positive relations while ‘utterly condemning’ the illegal demolitions.
Decades of similar policies make it clear that the UK maintains its commercial relationship with Israel at all costs, and that its criticism of Israel’s human rights policies are for appeasement of a public unhappy with Israeli policies. The UK government has never been willing to go beyond condemnations to stop the Israeli government from its policies. In fact, money paid to the Norwegian Refugee Council can be seen to be a subsidy to the occupation, since it absolves the government of Israel of financial responsiblity for the problems it creates by house demolition.
Up to twenty homes in Yatma are subject to demolition orders by the Israeli Occupation Forces. The Occupation delivers demolition orders when Palestinians build houses in areas the Israelis consider reserved for military purposes (Israelis can illegally build on Palestinian land in the military zones usually without problems from the military).
Yatma is completely surrounded by ‘Zone C’ military reserve. There are no alternatives to building on the military reserve land, and Israeli permission to build is normally not forthcoming. Appeal processes exist but are stacked against the Palestinian homeowner. Once appeals are exhausted houses can be demolished at any moment subject to the whim of the military command. Most houses under demolition orders in Yatma are in this situation.
What you can do:
Keep up the letters to MP Amber Rudd, asking her to take up the cause of Palestinians. Point out that we shouldn’t be subsidising house demolition. Demand that Britain put human rights considerations ahead of commercial interests.
Autumn 2013 newletter
As I travel in a ‘Servis’ (7-seater mini bus), from Ramallah to Nablus, I notice the proliferation of new road signs at the road side entrances to Palestinian villages. They remind me of zoo warning signs for dangerous animals! No need to put similar signs in front of settlements – they are well protected from ‘intruders’ by high wire fences and patrolling armed security staff. Palestinians are only allowed to enter settlements if they have a work permit. Settlers, on the other hand, are free to roam Palestinian land at will, even to attack farmers and uproot trees.
Correction from last post
How could I get it so wrong? In my last post I said that Tommy Donnellen had been hit by a gas canister. I’ve seen enough wounds by now that I should know the wound was from a steel coated rubber bullet.
He was standing behind the wall of the petrol station, where I often stand with other photographers, professional and amateur, to snap the interplay between the boy stone throwers (‘shebab’) – and the occupation forces. There were no medics around last Friday so Anne, a French photographer, and I were trying to get some ice on the wound, but he was stoically holding out! Tommy is a relentless activist from Galway Ireland who who has been documenting Palestinian non-violent resistance* for a few years, Maybe that was why he was targeted. I hope that he is healing.
Ongoing oppression tactics
Did a truce ever exist? As I write this, Gaza is being bombarded by Israeli air strikes. In the villages surrounding Ramalla land confiscation goes on for military expansion.
* Friday protests are always essentially non-violent. Peaceful marches are halted by the Israeli occupation forces using skunk water and tear gas, then as the march breaks up teenages (‘shebab’) throw stones at the soldiers, who respond with more tear gas and rubber bullets.