Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Israel doesn't know what to do with non-violent resistance to the Occupation.

A few of those who were picking olives with us – including a London reporter for Al Arabia – went to the weekly non-violent protest in the village of Bil'in, just North of Ramallah. I visited this place a couple of years ago and met with Abdullah and others in the village who welcome the Israelis and internationals who come to help stand against the theft of their land.

The "Security Barrier" runs up next to the village, stealing the village's olive orchards in order to build an illegal multi-story settlement on their land. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that they should have access to their olive groves – where many of their trees have been destroyed – through a gate in the fence. But over the last year, the non-violent protests of the closed access to their groves has been met by increasingly violent responses from the IDF. A Nobel Peace prize winner from Ireland was hit with a rubber bullet there a while back. Not one suicide bomber has come from this region of the West Bank, but the IDF continue to argue for the placement of the fence well inside the Internationally recognized line. Here is footage from October 31st at Bil'in:

Of course, many of the Jews who come to Israel from abroad don't fully understand what is happening in the Occupied Territories. They are happy to be free and away from the Anti-Semitism expressed in Russia, Eastern Europe, or Ethiopia. But some of those who buy homes in the West Bank are not told that the homes they are buying are on land owned by Palestinians. Many of them get "buyer's remorse" after learning that their homes or condos are built on another's property, but they are stuck in mortgages worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if they would like to get to do the right thing, they cannot afford to do so. As the New York Times reports, things are changing. Please visit:

The other issue for Palestinians who try to protect their rights in the courts is that Israel does not have established borders or a constitution that guarantees Arabs any rights – even marital rights, if they wish to marry someone who lives in the West Bank. The tragedy is extended to those cases when a family or village is able to get a decision in their favor from the Israeli Supreme Court, if the Military decides that a specific checkpoint or region is essential to Israel's "security" then they are free to ignore the Supreme Court and build a concrete wall between a Palestinian village such as Um Salomona and the villager's olive and almond groves. Isn't it time for human rights in Israel-Palestine?

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