Fassayil: Settlers are abusing Palestinians under the auspices of the army

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Daphne Banai (report), N ;urit Popper (photos)

Fassayil, Jericho, Azoun


As we have been doing for the past 3 years, this time too we drove Maryam Nawarah to receive inner-eye injections from Dr. Salam Eriqat (daughter of Saeb Eriqat) in Jericho. This time we had a two-month creak because of Daphne’s family health situation.

3 years ago, the Israeli army demolished the Nawarah family dwelling and it was then that we first met Maryam who seemed really old at the time, but we found out she was only 57. She was bent over, leaned on a cane and totally blind. One leg was swollen to 3-times the usual size, all as a result of severe diabetes. We found a wrecked family, all ill with severe diabetes, a son with mental deficiencies and another who cannot function, is married for years and the couple have no children. His wife Dalal holds together this miserable family with difficulty and takes care of the ill mother. How anyone could demolish the dwelling of these miserable people is beyond me.

To this day, the rods and tarpaulins we brought them to re-store their tent are thrown about in the yard. The son and his wife sleep in a pup-tent that is not water proof, and during rainy nights they sleep in a deserted car thrown in the yard as well. In spite of the fact that they live just a few meters away from the Fasail springs, they receive water only once in 4 days for several hours during which they fill a plastic container that is hardly sufficient for 3 days. In contrast, 9 huge pumps supply plenty of water to the Jewish colonies, far and near.

Now Maryam has partial vision but must continue the injection treatment. We finance their steep price since there is no other financial source – the insulin she injects herself does not alter her severe diabetes. But her partial vision has changed her. She has a stronger opinion and statement. She tells us about her life and confronts her good-for-nothing husband who oppresses her and her daughter in law, and she does not spare him her words. It’s a pleasure to witness this…

On our way we saw Tahreer’s small children, the same Tahreer whom we had helped in the past. We were told that Tahreer, her brother and father went to Omara, a kind of pilgrimage to Mecca (haj) that takes place not during the Ramadan month and therefore is considered less sacred. Her children are staying with her mother until she gets back.

Before picking up Maryam, we drove to the Fasail springs and to the areas east of the village to find out if the shepherds are out to pasture. It is 8 a.m. and we have not seen a single shepherd. The hill range, dozens of kilometers of empty ground, grows grass to an impressive height and could feed dozens of sheep flocks but is standing deserted. The colonist Elhanan of the Mal’achei Ha-Shalom outpost and his armed youths with the help of Israeli soldiers have chased away the 30-40 shepherds who used to graze around there.

Throughout the summer several shepherds still gathered around the water pipe that brings the village water and that has a faucet and trough for the animals to drink. But after the colonist repeatedly threatened not to come, and his youths punctured the pipe and blocked the water ditches, we found this area deserted as well. The faucet is broken and the trough gone – the God-fearing colonists must have stolen it, having forgotten their 8th Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal”. The Palestinian Jordan Valley Alliance activists fixed the pipe time and again, but today we found the water ditch leading to the pipe blocked with stones and nylon sheets in several p[laces.

Now all the shepherds graze their flocks inside the village among the houses, and there is no feed there.

On our way back, road 505 was blocked by a severe accident near Jawareesh. We were told it stay closed for anther 4 hours. The Palestinians turned around and drove through the nearby villages, while we drove through the colonies of Shilo, Eli and other colonist outposts. We were amazed to see the contiguity of colonies and outposts next to each other. I hadn’t been in that area for quite a while, and saw black. Not an inch of land is left for the Palestinians – everything is stolen.

Finally, we drove to Azoun to get the olives ordered by our MW friends from a person who lives near Azoun, and much of whose land has been taken over by the outpost El Matan. He took a day’s holiday to meet us, because getting to his land he must cross an agricultural checkpoint that opens at 7:30 a.m. and immediately closes, to open only in the evening, Thus, he is locked on his land and cannot get back to his home or village the entire day. Crazy!

Azoun too is locked. Two gigantic gatesinfo-icon block the entry and exit from the town to road 55. We passed the olives over and under the checkpoint while soldiers sat there in their armored jeeps and watched us.