Bruqin, Deir Istiya, Kufr alDik
A surprising and emotional meeting with the head of the village Dir Istia.
Assertively and without hesitation, she told us about the severe problems arising from the occupation – confiscation of land, arrest of youngsters and provocations by the J.S.S. (general security service). She invited us to demonstrate and cooperate with the women of the village.
In our visit to Kufr alDik and Bruqin we saw the absurd building activity on the hills to the west and the track of the sewage flowing from the Barkan settlement industrial area, under road 5 into the wadi, passing through the villages up to Deir Balut and on its way contaminating the air, the land and the ground water. It also causes dangerous diseases.
At 10.00 we arrived at the Baladiya in Deir Istia by previous appointment with the new head of the local council. Amal, an assertive young woman, welcomed us warmly. She did not know Machsom Watch and in the beginning she did not even know that we were Israelis. The conversation proceeded swiftly without any long introductions, and was pleasant and direct. Z., whom we had already met before, also participated. He mediated, translated and provided important information when needed.
We introduced ourselves and told them about M.W. and the guidelines of the organization and she immediately raised issues that trouble the people of Deir Istia in these days.
First, the uprooting of trees in Wadi Kana by the army under the pretext that this was a nature reserve where planting is forbidden. Amal showed us the document with the uprooting orders, repeated from time to time, and photographed them for us. Z. added that recently the military demands that the owners of the land and the trees do the uprooting themselves…the settlers of Yakir, Immanuel and … participate in harassing the farmers and causing damage to their land. Towards the end of the conversation they asked us to come on the following day and support them in the demonstration.
Another issue raised was the arrest of youngsters. About 25 youngsters are detained in the Megiddo prison. Repeated reports of entering the houses at night. About 40 soldiers enter the house on each such event, with another 150 surrounding the house and making frightening noises and commotion. In some cases, when the youngster is still asleep, they pull him out of bed in his underwear, seize his hands and legs, aim flashlights at his closed eyes, and begin asking him guiding questions, such as "where did you throw the stones? Who else threw stones? (Even before asking him if he had thrown stones).
Both our partners are sure that the stone throwing is a planned provocation by the Shabak (J.S.S.). They explained that whenever the entrance gate to the village is opened – the youngsters begin to throw stones, incited by some young collaborators, thus providing a rational for the army and the Shabak to arrest them. What follows is a familiar routine…
Some of the collaborators, but not all of them, are known in the village.
At the end of the meeting we talked about options of cooperating with the Women`s Center in the village. Amal was enthusiastic about learning Hebrew and perhaps English and also about them teaching us Arabic. She told us that she had learned some Hebrew by herself but would prefer to learn through personal contact. She showed us some of her knowledge of Hebrew in a charming way. We decided to conduct the next meeting with the coordinator of women`s affairs in the village.
In the meantime she asked us to participate in the demonstration which was to take place on Friday, against the harassment by the army and the settlers in wadi Kana,.
Before we left, Z. told us about the uniqueness of the village in which the first village school was founded in 1924. The families here attach great importance to education and today a large majority of the girls have finished high school and proceed to higher studies at the A`Najah university or the open university at Salfit.
11.45The A`Dik village – we arrived at the house of our friend H. with parcels of clothes and articles. As a member of the village council she takes care of the needy families and also tries to organize a trip to Tel-Aviv for the severely ill people of the village.
From the windows of their new house they again pointed at the accelerated building activities of the settlers in Baruhin and Alei Zahav,
on the lands of the Palestinian villages Bruqin and A`Dik.
In the meantime, outside, a group of students, friends of the family, volunteered on their free day to help the family to set up a new garden.
Two members of the local council with whom we had an appointment, came to our friend`s house to discuss matters of water and sewage.
With regard to water the data are: today 5700 people live in the village. Every 24 hours they receive 390 cubic meters of water from Mekorot (The Israeli Water Co.). The faucets open twice or three times a week for two hours, for each area in the village.
The growth rate of the population is 2.5% per year and the quantity of water should be increased accordingly, but it is not done.
On the issue of sewage: the two experts went with us to Bruqin in order to show us the range of damage created by the Israeli industrial area of Barkan to the villages next to the wadi up to the village Deir Balut.