Tue 24.8.10, Morning
Today's visit was a follow-up of last week's visit and this time we arrived in order to see things with our own eyes and to take photographs. Dalia G. brought a video camera; she photographed and interviewed the people.
Before we set out they again presented to us the water shortage problem. The problem is this: In a pipe of 34 inches in diameter 12 cubic meters of water are conducted every three days. The village is divided into 6 parts and each part gets its water allocation every 16 days. Each house has a water pit for the accumulation of rain water. This water is usually soiled but the people have no choice, they drink it although it causes many diseases in the village. They can also buy water from tankers, whose price is 40 shekels per cubic meter, but naturally only the people with means can afford to buy this water.
They again repeated the fact that the village is built on an enormous water reservoir which is used in its entirety by Mekorot and most of the water is supplied to the settlements.
The Authority in Ramallah asked the Israeli authorities to increase the water allocation to the village and were told that their request would be answered after a piping system would be installed in the village. After this had been installed they added 4 cubic meters which is nothing but a sad joke.
One of the persons we met in the village said "they distribute water here as in a prison. Two cups of water per person per days is not only the Occupation, it's pure cruelty. Are we in the old South Africa?"
The Tour: On our way we passed some beautiful houses. The hosts explained to us that they belong to people who work in Israel or in Saudi Arabia. We passed a very beautiful house next to which there was the wreckage of a destroyed house. According to the authorities it is on Zone C and in Baruhin there is a whole area intended for wreckage. Rumour has it that the plan is to built on this area the continuation of the industrial zone of Ariel. In general it is not at all clear where Zones A and B end and where zone C begins. They told us about cases where half a house is on Zone B and the other half on Zone C.
Site No. 1: The sewage and rubbish arrive here from the settlements. There are a few such "sewerage rivers". The first arrives from the industrial zone of Ariel to Baruhin and there are medical documents which confirm that they cause health damages. This sewage flows on beyond the hill straight to the Baruhin spring. They explained to us that with the passage of time the sewage clears more ways for itself and penetrates the rocks and they fear that thus they will reach the only spring they have in A Dic. We stood on top of the hill and saw the flow.
Nest to the sewage river there are a few garbage sites where old tires from the Barkan industries are dumped and burned as well as garbage from the refurbishment of houses in the settlements. Beyond road no. 5 one can see how the sewage flows from Barkan down the hill and passes in a pipe under the road straight to the lands of Baruhin an A Dic.
Near the sewage a herd of cattle grazes, and they drink contaminated sewerage water, so that it is forbidden to eat the meat or drink their milk, but they seem to succeed in marketing these to unknown places.
Site No. 2: The water wells and the water meters. We saw a few water wells in private houses, in the school and at the mosque, whose water well supplies water to the council and at times to private houses too. The rain-water flows to the wells from the drainpipes which are installed on the roofs and are collected, from there they are pumped into tanks which are set up on the roofs and are ready for use. As said before this water isn't clean. We visited the school where the head of the local council had to close the water well because sewerage water seeped into it. At present they are supplied with water from tankers. There are water meters in the village but they don't function because most of the time no water is conducted to the village, we saw it with our own eyes.
The village doesn’t have a proper sewage disposal system which causes the water wells to be contaminated.
Site no. 3: The spring. There is one spring in the village around which there are trees and greenery. From this spring water is pumped for the tankers. At the moments there is no water for the trees and the plants around the spring. A hothouse which gets its water from the spring is abandoned and will only be operated again in the winter. As a considerable amount of the spring's water seeps into the rocks and are lost, the villagers wanted to do something about it but are not enabled to do so. The water which seeps into the rocks gets to the reservoir which is situated at a lower level and serves the settlements. As we mentioned before the danger exists that sewage water will reach this spring too. Tests which have been done recently found that the water was already contaminated.
Site no. 4: The dogs in the Aley Zahav settlement. This settlement is built on plots that were stolen from the village after the roads were built and the security strip which cost them more uprooted trees. In spite of this a few orchards remained near the settlement. We arrived with the owner of the orchard at the entrance of the settlement (where everything is green and well-watered). So that he may enter his orchard he has to beg for an authorization from the soldier who stands at the CP, who phones somebody, and after he receives the authorization the owner of the orchard is allowed to enter his own land. Nobody else, for example his own brother, is not permitted to go there by himself. By the way, immediately after we arrived army vehicles began turning around there and the soldiers in one of them began investigating us and the Palestinians. When he asked how we felt we told him our opinion about what we saw. In the area of the plantation there are a few large and terrifying dogs. The owner of the plantation told us that he has to appease the dogs with food in order to be able to work. A water pipe of a diameter of half an inch supplies water to the dogs.
We also saw the results of the spraying of the olive trees which are the drying up of the branches and the shriveling of the leaves, in short, a slow decay.
Here we had to leave. We said that we would try to bring this information to the knowledge of Israelis, but we didn't know whether this will bring a change.