Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Economist Covers My Area With Great Imbalance

In this story about the land dispute 'in the back' out here in the Shiloh Bloc.

The West Bank
Villagers v settlers
Life in the rural West Bank is a far cry from diplomacy in New York

with a blurb of

Outgunned, outnumbered, but now fighting back

The Economist enrolls itself as an Arab propaganda instrument.

Some excerpts to give you idea, but read the whole article:

AT MIDNIGHT the Palestinian vigil against the predations of nearby Jewish settlers begins. Five students, armed with a pocket-torch, stand guard at the hilltop entrance of the small Palestinian village of Kfar Qusra. Farmers and their wives pitch camp in their fields, watching their flocks.

It is not an even fight. Jewish settlers wield M-16 rifles. Villagers have mobile phones and stones...

...At an evening planning meeting, an 85-year-old landowner encourages his sons to abduct the next settler who chops down trees in his olive groves or slaughters one of his sheep.

...So far the new, more robust tactics of the villagers have worked. On September 16th, a week after the attack on the mosque, a Qusra farmer, Fathallah Abu Rayda, spied a band of settlers near his local well, seemingly intent on destroying or poisoning it, and notified the village network. Within minutes the mosque’s loudspeakers had sounded the alarm, and hundreds had gathered to shoo the intruders away. One fled, said villagers, in his underpants. In the panic Mr Abu Rayda was shot in the leg, but they have yet to return.

Mahmoud Abbas’s diplomatic manoeuvring in New York has left many villagers confused. But he may have raised expectations, especially in Area C, the rural 60% of the West Bank, including Qusra, which an “interim agreement” between the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Israel in 1995 left under Israel’s full control. Ever since, Israel has tightened its grip over Area C, weaving a web of settlements, military bases, roads, separation barriers and checkpoints.

Settlers now outnumber Palestinians in Area C by two to one (?); they regard the territory as theirs.

With Mr Abbas now promising to secure Palestine’s legal right to the land at the UN, other Palestinian villages are also establishing networks to look out for trespassing settlers. A new group called Youth Against Settlements has opened an operations room in Hebron to co-ordinate 300 volunteers who patrol the southern part of the West Bank that surrounds the city by car, by bicycle and on foot. They now scour the land, watching out for settler raids.

...Bizarrely, each side, in some respects, feeds the other’s appetite. Settlers pay Palestinian labourers to build their homes; Palestinians use the proceeds to expand their own villages. Zealots on both sides see land as sacred. Qusra’s villagers celebrated their success in chasing settlers away by staging their Friday prayers in the fields, prostrating themselves on the ploughed earth.

...While lauding Mr Abbas for his recent stand in New York, some Qusra people say he has run to the UN only because he is too weak to act on the ground. All anti-settler monitors say they will abide by his calls for non-violence (though stone-throwing is thought not to count). But a villager adds menacingly, “If Hamas were in charge, not a single settler would dare raid our land.”

I left a comment there.


No comments: