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.
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.