Kufr alDik, Fri 1.1.10, Morning
In 2009, Tzvia Shapira, Dalia Golomb and Rachel Afek began visiting Palestinian villages on their way to and from the checkpoints. Conversations that began in the street continued inside the homes; they created strong bonds with a number of villages over cups of coffee.
The village of Shufa lacked electricity. Tzvia made it her mission, and after eight months of hard work, during which she overcame many obstacles, she succeeded in obtaining electricity for the village. A-Dik village suffered from a serious shortage of water, from sewage flowing down from the Ariel settlement polluting Palestinian fields and water sources, from theft of land and from additional settler harassment. Tzvia and Dalia took it upon themselves to obtain an increased water allotment for the village from Mekorot, and to deal with the sewage issue. After about a year and a half of discussions, Mekorot increased the allotment of water to the villages of A-Dik and Brukin, from 14 to 25 cubic meters/hour for the two villages. That’s the average allotment in the West Bank (the allotment in Israel and in the settlements is four times as great). cf. filmstrip As of April, 2012, the problem of Ariel’s sewage flowing down to the Palestinian villages has not been resolved. cf. filmstrip
Additional Machsom Watch members began visiting the villages and developed relationships with the residents in order to help them transmit their complaints through the appropriate channels, and seek solutions.
During these visits we met groups of Palestinian women who were used to meeting together in the village and began conducting joint activities with them. The first group contacted was composed of women from A-Dik village. They were happy to make the connection, and asked for help. We proposed a number of activities; they chose an exercise class and language instruction (English and Hebrew). Later, at their request, we also included handicrafts. We ourselves wanted to use these meetings as an opportunity to learn Arabic systematically, but we haven’t yet been able to find a way of doing so.
Our activities with the A-Dik village women resonated favorably in the surrounding area, and meetings began with women’s clubs in other nearby villages – Salfit, Rafat (which, unfortunately, didn’t continue), and in the A-Dik women’s club, where we added a beading workshop. That developed into the production of jewelry for sale, and one woman is now prepared to teach beadwork in a neighboring village. People from Hars and from Zeita also approached us; activities are fully underway there as well. Young women are very interested in the courses; they attend religiously.
Why did we undertake to make these connections? First, we wanted us to get to know each other better, to give Palestinian women an opportunity to meet Israeli women who don’t threaten them in any way, who oppose the occupation and hope to live with them in peace. We also wanted to learn more about life in Palestinian villages, to better understand the difficulties and enormous challenges faced by Palestinian women. These activities are also intended to undermine the efforts of the Israeli regime to divide and separate Israelis from Palestinians.
We realized, with time, that our activities achieve those goals, and even exceed them. The learning, the exercise classes, the acquisition of skills in the production of items that can be sold, along with the empowerment and small business workshops run by the Palestinian Authority in cooperation with international organizations, empower Palestinian women.
By getting to know one another we reduce the fear and mistrust both sides feel; we come to understand that the connection between us is important to us all. We believe that participation of Palestinian women in our oppositional activities also contributes to their personal and civil empowerment.
We will continue to visit additional villages, identify problems caused by the occupation and its injustices and help as much as we can. At the same time, we continue to visit and report on the checkpoints and roadblocks in the area.