UK government fails Yatma again

The UK government continues to fail the people of Yatma, and Palestine in general by refusing to sanction Israel for its occupation, while demonstrating this week that it is willing to take sanctions against other countries that occupy their neighbours.

Last week three more families in Yatma were given notice by Israel’s occupation forces that their homes were slated for demolition. That adds to the twenty houses already under demolition orders in Yatma. Most of these families have exhausted their appeals, which are almost never granted.

Each of these families must live with the knowledge that any morning the Israeli army may arrive and give them a few minutes notice to remove their possessions, before demolishing their house. This has happened thousands of times in other parts of the West Bank, and there has recently been pressure by settlers to enforce demolition orders in Yatma.

While our government has been quick to defend the human rights throughout the world, it has remained oddly immobile in the face of rising human rights abuses in the West Bank by Israeli occupation forces.

This year attacks by settlers in the vicinity of Yatma have more than doubled, and scarcely a week goes by that we don’t hear of trees uprooted, vandalism, tires slashed, equipment destroyed and other harassment by settlers on Palestinians in the Yatma vicinity. These aren’t often reported in our media. And rarely does the Israeli occupation administration do anything to stop the attacks.

Since the beginning of 2014 18 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Most of these attacks have been examples of excessive and unnecessary force against unarmed Palestinian civilians, many of them young people or juveniles. Israeli military personnel act with impunity; there is little possibility they will be censured, no less charged.

Once again we must ask our government to take the kind of actions that it is willing to use in the Crimean crisis, against the members of the Israeli administration who create and administer these policies.


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New Palestine Solidarity Campaign group in Hastings and St Leonard’s

Three weeks ago a dozen people met in the White Rock Hotel to form a new campaign group affiliated with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The group is not yet officially affiliated with the national group, but accepts the PSC constitution and goals. A core group was formed to take the organisation forward, and build the infrastruture, including executive roles, websites, Facebook groups, etc. Join the Facebook page here.

A number of initial campaigns have been suggested, including a boycott of Arad water meters (see description of the issue below), and boycott of Sodastream products.

Within a week, the first event was held, as the group hosted a graduate of Al Quds University, which is located in East Jerusalem. Tarek Ahmed described the conditions under which students must study at Al Quds university must study. Al Quds is in Area C, which means that Israeli Occupation Forces have free movement, and often harrass students with tear gas and riot control tactics, even when no disturbances have happened.

Tarek visited a number of Hastings sites, including Pestalozzi Village, and the Mayor of Hastings.

Tarek Ahmed with mayor


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Occupation connected water meters being installed in Hastings

Southern Water has a programme of installing new water meters in Hastings. All, or significant portion of these, are manufactured by the Israeli company Arad Group.

Arad is known to do significant work in illegal West Bank settlements, like Ariel, and Barkan. (Both of these are in the same general region south of Nablus, as is Yatma). Arad also works with the Israeli state owned water organisation Mekorot. Mekorot operates and develops water infrastructure in the occupied West Bank. Mekorot supplies most of the water throughout Israel. In the West Bank, Mekorot is intimately involved in the system of water apartheid by which Israeli settlements are supplied with ample water, while Palestinians receive little water. The water situation of Yatma has been described in this blog before, also in this Unicef funded study.

The campaign to refuse Arad water meters has already been active in Brighton and Lewes. Barney Steele wrote in the Lewes Forum:

Arad is therefore an integral part of Israel’s apartheid water policies, which systematically deny water to Palestinian communities, whilst subsidising water supplies to illegal Israeli settlements.

As a result of these apartheid policies Israel takes more than 80 per cent of the water from the West Bank Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 per cent.

In 2005, 150 Palestinian and Israeli civil society groups called upon organisations and people all over the world to:
“impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era . . .for the sake of justice and genuine peace”.

Join our campaign and ask for a non-Israeli meter.

Residents in Brighton have refused to have Arad meters fitted and have accepted the offer from Southern Water of alternative meters. You are entitled to refuse as long as you accept an alternative.
To request an alternative to an Arad meter, please phone Southern Water immediately on 0845 278 0845.

You may also need to inform installers when they appear in your street – they have been instructed not to install at houses that refuse.

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Hastings Friends of Yatma supplies medical equipment for Yatma clinic

HFOY has bought essential equipment for the Yatma clinic. We have been able to supply sterilising equipment; blood pressure, diabetes and blood testing apparatus, and a washing machine . The doctor only makes fortnightly visits and much of the running of the clinic is done by the nurse Mureena – in the photo she is unpacking the delivery with deputy Mayor Mohammed Snober.


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Filed under HFOY projects in Yatma, Yatma

Hastings Friends of Yatma January 2014 Newsletter

HFOY jan 2014

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by | January 22, 2014 · 2:52 pm

Settlers attack village next to 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.

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Filed under Hastings Friends of Yatma, Price Tag, Yatma

UK subsidises house demolition in Palestine

house demolition

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.

HFOY rubble of house demolished by Israeli forces

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Filed under Hastings Friends of Yatma, Home demolitions, Yatma