The village of Taybe lies about 10 kilometres inside the West Bank. Stand at the Boys’ School at the edge of the village and look towards the border and what do you see? 20 metres ahead and stretching as far as the eye can see are head - high rolls of razor wire. Beyond that is a ten-foot electric fence, beyond that is a military road patrolled by Israeli army jeeps, and beyond that still is another fence and more razor wire.
How do you make a living as a farmer when your land and water has been stolen from you by the Israeli invaders? The answer is that you don’t. You join the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps in Jordan, or you work for a pittance in the illegal Israeli settlements spreading like a cancer over the once fertile land of Palestine. The Jordan valley was once the most fertile region for Palestinian farmers.
A complaint is being made against Israeli police after the lives of three British women were threatened by armed Israeli settlers. One of the settlers was identified by Israeli police at the scene as a security guard for the illegal settlement of Talmon B. No action has been taken against this man. The three members of the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group were subsequently arrested, held for 33 hours in an Israeli gaol and released without charge.
The Palestinian village of Al Mazra’a al Qibliah in the occupied West Bank was the scene of a vicious attack by armed Israeli settlers on 26th/27th/28th October following a demonstration participated in by the Brighton Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group. Lucy Collins from Brighton who had just spoken to villagers from Al Masra’a said ‘On Saturday the settlers came back into the village. They uprooted and burnt olive trees, destroyed crops, attacked houses and broke windows. The settlers caught some of the villagers and beat them with sticks and bars.
PRESS RELEASE - COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT IN AL MASRA’A AFTER PEACEUL DEMONSTRATION The Palestinian village of Al Mazra’a al Qibliya in the occupied West Bank was the scene of a vicious attack by armed Israeli settlers this weekend following a demonstration participated in by the Brighton Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group (see http://brightonpalestine.org/blog/?p=217) Israeli settlers entered the village, which the day before had staged a non-violent protest at the theft of ancestral lands by the settlement.
PRESS RELEASE - BRITISH CITIZENS ARRESTED AT NONVIOLENT DEMONSTRATION IN AL MASRA’A NOW RELEASED Three British women, arrested at a demonstration at Al Masra’a al Qibliya on Friday 26th were released late last night after being detained for over thirty hours. The women, Sarah Cobham, Caroline Bailey and Kate Harrison, were arrested after participating in a demonstration about the seizure of land in Al Masra’a. Protesters were fired at with live ammunition by settlers, soldiers also fired off live rounds.
Yesterday I found myself with two friends, on a Palestinian hillside, being pursued by an Israeli settler shouting and shooting indiscrimiately. This wasn’t what I had expected when I decided to attend a demonstration against the Isreali settler theft of land from the palestinian villagers of Al Misra’ar. Having trecked over the hills and through the olive groves from the village in the midday sun I could see ahead of me all the villagers who were leading the demonstration. Then I heard gunfire. Everyone was suddenly shouting and running.
Waking up before dawn in the small village of Fasayil, deep in the heart of the Jordan Valley, we did not know what to expect. We were hoping to see, and maybe speak to some Palestinians that work in the nearby Israeli settlement farm: Tomer. After a walk down a mud track we arrived outside the farm gates. As the sun started to come up, the workers began to arrive – buses full of women and trucks full of men. It wasn’t until one had passed us by that we saw the line of children, perched along the back end – some no older than 12 or 13. Before long a factory worker arrived.
I have come to Palestine with a particular focus on women and women’s health. I am a midwife who has lived in Brighton for ten years. I work at the Royal Sussex County hospital. I joined the delegation to find out first hand the effect of the Israeli occupation on the women and their choices in childbirth. The quiet grinding everyday stress of living under occupation is a story not always told. The big incursions, the land seizures the dead children, shot for throwing stones make the headlines, the everyday problems of living under a power that wants to destroy you is not so newsworthy.
Edward Said used to say that Western support for the Palestinian cause could only be built through the creation of a national narrative strong enough to challenge Israel’s, and to do this the same story would have to be re-told over and over again until the world starts listening. Writing about a first visit to Palestine feels a bit like becoming a part of that essential retelling.