Bearing witness

by ray goodlass

March 26: we visited two extremely poor Palestinian villages today that are being squeezed in by surrounding illegal Israeli settlements, which have already demolished both villages several times. But at least both have electricity, supplied by COMET-ME, the NGO we visited yesterday, so though the whole situation is sad beyond compare, at least they have some power. However, how long that will last is debatable, given that there are demolition orders on both power plants.

The first village was called Susiya, at which we were given a very informative talk (and a jar of village honey), and the second was Om Alkkair. Here the settlement had been built so close to the village it was the closest I’ve ever been to one. Their extremely good living conditions were in stark contrast to the poverty of the villagers’ shacks.

At 7.00 this morning I went to bear witness to an Al Tuwani daily event, the journey of some outlying primary school age children (about 20 of them) to school. The are accompanied by the Israeli military (on this day one guy in a truck), by Court order I understand. There are several explanations for this, and the one that suits Israeli propaganda the best is that the IDF is protecting the children from attacks by the settlers, who overlook their route, and this certainly happens, but more likely is that the army is herding them to school to stop them harassing the settlers, which in reality can’t happen, given the geographic layout. So yet another example of settler intransigence.