www.banksy.co.uk - adaptation by shadow

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Abu Juda, a Bethlehem Farmer

Abu Juda

Abu Juda is a 61 year old farmer. His land, whilst inside Bethlehem Governorate, has long been inside an Israeli West Bank settlement, but only recently separated from Bethlehem by Israel's separation "fence". Since the completion of that section of the wall, Abu Juda has to make an 8km detour walk, with his donkey, to reach his land. At a military checkpoint in the wall Abu Juda must show his ID and permit to farm his own land, land that has been in his familiy for generations.
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Abu Akrum, a Bethlehem Farmer

Abu Akrum - Bethlehem

Abu Akrum lives in Bethlehem's Deheisha refugee camp. His family was displaced from their village near the "green line" as a result of Israeli violence during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Of all the people I have met in Palestine Abu Akrum is one of the most inspiring. He turned an area of cactus overrun land, within the refugee camp, into a thriving jungle of a garden that provides many of his family's vegetable needs.

10 years ago Abu Akrum bought a 23,000 square metre area of farm land in an area of bethlehem district called Al Khader. He now makes a small living as a farmer of fruit, vegetables, and honey. This living is, however, far from easy. The land that Abu Akrum farms is now on the wrong side of Israel's separation wall, and upon the wall's completion there is no guaruntee that Abu Akrum will be able to use this land as he does now. The dirt track that connects Abu Akrum's land to the main Jerusalem-Hebron road is in a state of such disrepair that to farm this vast area of farmland in a way that is economically viable is next to impossible.

Recently Abu Akrum's farmland summer house was broken into and set alight, ruining over 1km of irrigation piping as well as tools. With a small Israeli outpost settlement just over the hill above his land, Abu Akrum suspects the settlers. There are many other reports of abuse of Palestinian farmers by Israeli settlers in this particular area, including claims of farmers being shot at.

In the background of the above picture is the Israeli settlement of Betar illit, another colony illegal under international law but now considered by israel as part of the defacto state. Betar illit is on the hill tops above the village of Wadi Fukin, another formerly highly productive area within the west bank. Now, however, due to israel's economic constriction of palestinian farmers Wadi Fukin is slowly becoming a village operating at little more than self-sufficiency.

Abu Akrum
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Thursday, 2 October 2008

Bustan Qaraaqa to host Imaginaction Group

Bustan Qaraaqa staff are excited to be hosting the Olive Tree Circus from Imaginaction, a travelling theatre arts company, for the second half of October. Imaginaction, a north-American group, are joining us in Palestine for the Olive Harvest, and with us will be supporting the activities of the Olive Tree Campaign of the East Jerusalem YMCA, helping Palestinian farmers to harvest olives in areas that are threatened with confiscation or are difficult to access.

We are also working together to create an exciting program of workshops and performances throughout the West Bank - watch this space for updates
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ARIJ report on the activities of Israeli settlers and occupation forces in the Bethlehem area during July 2008

• The Israeli Occupation Army removed Al Container checkpoint northeast
of Bethlehem city. Maan News (Jul 2, 2008).

• The IOF searched a house belonging to the family of Mahmoud Hassan Al
Wardian in Bethlehem city. PCHRGAZA (Jul 3, 2008).

• The IOF moved into Al Duhaisha refugee camp to the south of Bethlehem
city raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ziad Rahhal.
PCHRGAZA (Jul 3, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation Forces moved into Al Shawawra village to the east
of Bethlehem city raided and searched a house belonging to the family of
‘Ali Mohammed Hamdan. PCHRGAZA (Jul 3, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation troops staged into Al Khadr town south of
Bethlehem city and broke into the houses of Muhammad Hussein Gharib
and his sons. Wafa (Jul 7, 2008).

• The IOF staged into Al Khadr town south of Bethlehem city and broke into
the house of Ramzi Salah the mayor of the town. Wafa (Jul 10, 2008).

• Some 60 Israeli settlers, including a Knesset Member and local rabbis
invaded Osh Ghrab camp in Beit Sahour city. IMEMC & IsraelNN (Jul 11,

• The IOF invaded Al Khadr town south of Bethlehem city and broke into
Sbeih stores, causing extensive loses to the properties. The IOF also raided
and searched a house belonging to the family of Nadeem Mahmoud
‘Eissa. PCHRGAZA & Wafa (Jul 12, 2008).

• Israeli Occupation troops raided an apartment in the old section of Al
Khadr town west of Bethlehem city, shouting at the inhabitants and
claiming that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at an Israeli vehicle in
the area. Meanwhile Israeli Occupation forces stormed Wadi Em ʹAli
neighborhood of Bethlehem and arrested people. Separately, undercover
Israeli forces infiltrated ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. The Israeli
military vehicles infiltrated ‘Aida refugee camp north of Bethlehem city
and surrounded the houses of Ayman Al‐ʹAmareen and Hammuda Srur
and arrested them after ransacking both houses. Maannews (July 13, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation Forces closed Al Container checkpoint east of
Bethlehem Governorate and carried out an intensive inspection campaign
which obstructed the Pedestrian and vehicular movements for hours.
Wafa (July 13, 2008).

• More than 100 Israeli settlers invaded Osha Ghrab camp in Beit Sahour
city and tried to construct tents in the area in an attempt to erect new
outpost. Wafa (Jul 14, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation Forces staged into Nahhalin village west of
Bethlehem city and carried out house to house search campaign after
forcing dwellers to evacuate their houses under the threat of weapons.
Wafa (Jul 14, 2008).

• The IOF moved into Bethlehem city and raided and searched a house
belonging to the family of ‘Abed ‘Aziz al‐Hraimi. PCHRGAZA (July 15,

• The IOF moved into Beit Ta’mar village, east of Bethlehem, raided and
searched a house belonging to the family of Hmaid Mohammed Souman.
PCHRGAZA (July 15, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation Army invaded Beit Fajjar town south of Bethlehem
city, closed all its main entrances with earth mounds and cement blocks
and took over a four‐ storey residential building owned by Muhammad
Sham’on, turning it into military post after forcing all dwellers to evacuate
it. PNN & Quds (Jul 15, 2008).

• The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected a plan to build 800 new
housing units in Bittar ‘Illit settlement but he agreed on issuing bids to
build 286 units in the settlement. Haaretz (Jul 16, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation Petrol set up a temporary checkpoint at the
entrance of Al Shawawreh village east of Bethlehem city. Israeli Soldiers
stopped and searched vehicles, detained passengers after confiscating
their personal ID cards which hampered their arrival to their destination.
Wafa (July 23, 2008).

• Israeli Occupation forces accompanied by bulldozers and trucks to
transport machinery and equipment staged into the industrial zone east of
Beit Fajjar city and started razing the front yards of some factories and
confiscated more than 20 machinery, including bulldozers and machinery
and equipment for digging and cutting stone; initial losses are estimated at
millions of dollars as the occupation forces destroyed a number of stone
cut machines, each of which costs about a quarter of a million dollars.
Among Factoriesʹ owners, the following were known: Khalil Naʹim
thawabteh, Asʹad Mazen Jaradat, Muhammad Hassan Thawabteh, Nabeeh
Hasan Diriyah, Hatim Ahmed Natsheh. Maannews (July 2008).

• Six Israeli military vehicles invaded the village of Al Manyia south of
Bethlehem city and imposed a closure lasted for a couple of hours. Israeli
troops searched and ransacked several houses forcing civilians out of their
homes under the threat of weapon. The troops kidnapped Nawaf Abu
Nur, 44, after damaging his residence. IMEMC (July 24, 2008).

• Twenty sheep died after Israeli settlers sprayed the fields located in close
parameters of Tequʹ settlements south of Bethlehem city with poisonous
substances in the lands. Sheep belong to Mahmoud Hussein ʹAli Sabbah.
Wafa (July 28, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation Forces stormed the house of Muhammad Saʹade al
muhseri composed of three floors in Al Khader old city west of Bethlehem
city alongside Bypass Road 60 and carried out an intensive house search
after detaining the families in one room. The house is inhabited by three
families. Maannews (July 30, 2008).

• Around 70 Israeli settlers invaded Osh Ghurab Park east of Beit Sahour
and forced international and local volunteers to stop the painting work
that they were doing in the site. The settlers, started to paint over the
murals, and to kick the painting buckets. The Army arrived at the site but
made no move to stop the settler provocation. It is worth mentioning that
the painting action was organized by a number of organizations in
Bethlehem area, including the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement
between People, PAIDIA, Alternative Information Center (AIC) and
Decolonizing Architecture in addition to a number of volunteers in
Bethlehem area. IMEMC (July 30, 2008).

• The Israeli Occupation Bulldozers continued expanding Al Container
checkpoint in Abu Dis city on the expanse of Palestinian Lands located in
the vicinity of the Checkpoint in an attempt to transfer it into a crossing
terminal. The checkpoint connects the southern and middle West Bank
Governorates with the northern Governorates. Al Quds (July 31, 2008).

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Monday, 29 September 2008

Olive Picking in Al Walaja, October 3rd - October 4th

A message from our friends in Al Wallaja:

Dear friends,

As the summer sun gives way to autumn winds, the olives are ripening and the time for their harvest is soon to come. Though picking olives seems like a simple enough activity, it has become an increasingly difficult task for Palestinians whose land is under threat by Israel.

As such, on Friday and Saturday, 3-4 October, from 9:00 am until evening (around 17:00), we will be joining two friends, Abed and Abu Abdullah, to help them harvest their olive trees.

Many of you have already been to Wallajeh, have heard Abed's story and have participated in activities that stand with him in friendship and solidarity. For those who haven't, here is a brief background:

located on the southeastern-most hill of Jerusalem, Wallajeh was formally annexed to
the State of Israel in 1967, but its residents, who mostly live today in Daheisha refugee camp, were not given residency status and are therefore not legally allowed to enter their lands. More than a decade ago, Abed left the dismal conditions of the camp to live in a cave in Wallajeh and plant trees on his ancestral lands. Unfortunately, this did not suit the plans of Israeli politicians and real estate developers. Strategically situated between Gilo and Gush Etzion settlements, there are plans pending approval to build a new settlement on the lands of Wallajeh to be called Giv'at Yael. The contractors have been working closely with the municipality and the army to use every measure possible to embitter Abed's life and force him off his land. He, along with his many friends, has stood strong against all their attempts.

**Directions by Car**: *From the train station at Malha, continue to the traffic circle directly behind; turn right toward Ein Yael. Continue on this road until you get a checkpoint, on the right there will be a dirt path. You can park there and go by foot or brave the steep incline by car.**

Directions by Transport: *There will be transportation to Wallajeh leaving Malha at 9:00.*

Please let us know if and when you plan to join us, if you need transportation or if you have extra space in your car! Also, bring lunch, water, and protection against the sun. For any further questions call Sarah on 054 736 8419

With many wishes for a new year that will bring an end to the Occupation.

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