A fun day in Ein Sukkot Photo: Nurit Popper
Since its establishment until now, for 20 years, the activities of MachsomWatch continue without a pause. As an organization that operates on the ground and maintains direct contact with Palestinians, we had to adjust our activities to the pandemic situation especially during the periods of lockdown. But despite the situation, our members continue, with dedication, to monitor the checkpoints and to maintain contacts with the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank; to be attentive to every complaint, and to assist, when possible, with any issue. Mainly, we keep our eyes and hearts open to people whose human rights are violated every day and every hour by the State of Israel, the army, and the settlers. We continue to report, to warn, and to sound the voice of those who have no voice.
In the Jordan Valley, we continue to accompany shepherds and to protect them from harassment by settlers and the army. In the midst of the pandemic, a kindergarten was established, and a “fun day” for children and their mothers was organized to improve the well-being of the Jordan Valley residents. We continue to report, even in these coronavirus days, on the cutting down and burning of olive trees. We participated in the olive harvest, because the settlers increased their harassments, damaged the fruit, at times looting it, and even attacked olive pickers, trying to destroy the olive harvest in any way possible.
As can be read in the reports on our website, and also in the press, cruelty toward the Palestinians has not decreased during the pandemic. For example, at the beginning of November, the Civil Administration destroyed 18 housing units in Khirbet Humsa in the Jordan Valley; 74 persons lived in those units, 41 of them minors. Sheep pens and other structures were also demolished. Members of MachsomWatch who know the families that suffered from this, along with other activists, developed a whole system for collecting food, housewares, and donations, in order to help the families re-establish the structures.