See below for recent updates on the renewed threat to the Palestinian village of Susya.
Tag archive for "area C"
Palestinians from the village Iskaka near the settlement Ariel report some 250 olive trees cut down by the Israeli army this morning (August 10 2016). Continue Reading
Security forces today (August 9 2016) demolished five structures in the Palestinian village of Umm el Kheir, in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills region. The five structures were funded by the European Union. 27 people, including 16 minors were made homeless as a result. There were additional demolitions today at Sebastia, and early this week at al-Jiftlik and Fasayil. Video and text source: B’Tselem. Source photos: Guy Butavia, Ta’ayush
PRESS RELEASE | JULY 26 2016
On Sunday July 24th, the Jahalin Bedouin children attending summer camps in various locations outside Maale Adumim were treated to a special performance by medical clowns from nearby Bethlehem. The children, of course, loved the show!
— Rabbi 4 Human Rights (@rhreng) July 24, 2016
On July 20th, a photography workshop was held in the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani, in the South Hebron Hills. The workshop was led by by Ehab Tarabieh (director of photography and video at B’Tselem) and Nasser Nawaj’ah and is a product of a partnership between Rabbis for Human Rights and the Italian project “Operation Dove.”
The aim of these workshops is to train young Palestinian men and women to document events related to their lives under the Israeli occupation. Participating in the workshop are 25 Palestinian women and men from the South Hebron Hill villages of Umm El Kheir, Tuba, Susya and At-Tuwani.
In addition to acquiring basic photography equipment, the Palestinians learned the importance of documenting and providing photographic evidence to human rights organisations working to protect human rights in their region. This evidence they gather will be reviewed and archived, and is critical in that it ensures a basis for legal and other related actions.
The workshop give participants an understanding of the technical and legal aspects of documentation, showing them various camera techniques and outlining under what circumstances and in what places photography is not permitted. The workshops are empowering for the participants, and they enjoyed meeting and learning together with peers from villages in their region.
On July 17th, Rabbis for Human Rights started work at the summer camps for Bedouin children of the Jahalin tribe living outside of Maale Adumim. We help organize a number of camp programs for these children in different Jahalin encampments in the area in collaboration with nuns from the Comboni Order.
The Jahalin Bedouin represent one of the most vulnerable groups living in the Occupied Territories. The community is plagued by extremely high rates of poverty and unemployment, and they live under the constant threat of home demolition and forced displacement, as the state seeks to expand settlements. Already displaced from their ancestral lands in Tel Arad, they have been forced to mostly abandon their agrarian/herding lifestyle for an urban one.
On-going instability and poverty make it difficult for the community to provide recreational and educational opportunities for its children. That’s why RHR steps in and helps organize camps for these children. The camps give them a chance to grow, develop, and play in a safe and supervised environment alongside mentors from the Bedouin community as well as international volunteers. We are also active in advocacy work, trying to prevent demolitions, while our presence on the ground helps protect the community from the threat of demolition.
These photos are from four locations that are having summer camp for the children of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe this week and next week.
They are: Abu Nawahr A, Abu Nawahr B, (next to Maale Adumim), El Muntar (close to Keidar in the Judean Desert) and Jabal al Jahalin. The first three are happening in partnerhship with the dedicated and kind nuns of the Comboni order, while the camp at Jabal Al Jahalin (next to Azaria) is under the management Ibtisim, a local Bedouin women that works with us. This year we have only 3 volunteers so far and we are in need of more. Two from the University of Notre Dame in the USA and another young Palestinian from East Jerusalem.
Soon we will begin the soccer activity in Anata and Khan al Ackmar, with the help of Suliman, a Bedouin man from Anata.
So far, we had 180 children come for camp at all 4 locations! More photos here
We are still looking for volunteers to work with Jahalin children at summer camp in August. Knowledge of Arabic is especially helpful. If interested, please contact Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann at 050 211 0639
PLEASE NOTE: Until August, the Torah reading in the Land of Israel will be different than the Torah reading outside of the Land of Israel. This Shabbat we in Israel read Hukkat while abroad Korach which was read last week in Israel, is read. You can find last week’s Dvar Torah on Korach here.
Rabbinic sources call water a blessing, the United Nations recognises it as a human right, and Isaac seeks to distribute it equally among peoples. In his commentary to Parashat Hukkat, Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann shows us what Israel today must learn about the importance of fairly managing our most precious natural resource.
By Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann
Parashat Hukkat which opens with the strange commandment of the red heifer that is used to purify those contaminated by contact with death, goes on to tell the story of “Mei Meriva” (The waters of contention) where Moses strikes a rock twice angrily and provides the thirsty people with water. He is punished for his angry disobedience and is fated not to enter the land (Numbers, 20 1-6). But that is not the end of his troubles with the rebellious people. Their angry criticism of him and Aharon at having brought them “to die in the desert” and their wish “to return to Egypt” is repeated a number of times in the narrative. It is one of the main narrative themes of this book of the Torah. The long trek through the desert is wearing them down and they are losing patience.
The word ”water” figures prominently in the weekly Torah reading appearing some eleven times in the opening description of purification associated with the red heifer, and then nine more times in the subsequent narrative as the people continue to complain time after time of the lack of drinking water in the desert. Twenty times mentioned in one parasha seems to be telling us something.
This has been a hot summer here in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. There have been water shortages and water supply to villages in the “West Bank” or “Judea and Samaria” (according to your narrative) has been rationed yet again as it has been in past years. The water deprivation of the Palestinian population is a consequence of 49 years of structural discrimination. It is, one might say, a man-made desert. This alone would explain Palestinian non acceptance of, and rebellion against, Israeli rule, just as wandering in a waterless desert following Moshe and Aharon for forty years would explain the people’s rebelliousness and bitterness in this week’s Torah narrative. Moshe’s lack of sympathy for the people’s thirst led to his punishment just as our lack of sympathy for the basic human needs of Palestinians leads us to isolation in the world community, and increased rage from those millions whose lives we effect.
My personal experience in the field over the years has been one of witnessing discrimination and inequitable distribution of water resources, highlighted by repeated acts of destruction of water infrastructure in Area C, the prevention of local water development for Palestinian villages, and their increasing dependence on water purchased from Israeli sources.
In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized that water and sanitation should be a human right. Water as a human right is as much about the quality, making sure that the water is clean and you do not get sick from drinking it, as it is about access.
In the earlier Torah story of “The Bitter Waters” (“Hamayim Hamerorim“) there was water but it was not drinkable. Moses solved that problem miraculously. In Gaza today there is an extreme water crisis and in many villages in Israel and the Palestinian territories which not connected to the Israeli water system there is water which is not drinkable, as it has been polluted due to inadequate sewage (sometimes from Israeli industry, particularly from Jewish settlements, but also from Palestinian industry).
Unfortunately, Israel has actively prevented the improvement of this situation in Area C because of political and ideological concerns, often under the claim to be engaged in issues of security. We have the technological know-how and material resources to solve these problems at least in those areas under our direct and indirect control, if not in those where Hamas rules. We have a common interest to deal with this, if we can find a way to cooperate with the Palestinians and transcend exclusivist nationalist narratives for the sake of life. “You shall choose Life” the Torah tells us.
Rabbinic sources tell us repeatedly of the great value of water – rain is a blessing, drought a punishment. It is expressed ritually by religious Jews all over the world in their daily repetition of the Sh’ma prayer, instituted by the sages in ancient times, reminding them of their dependence on Divine Benevolence.
Rav Yehudah, one of the Talmudic scholars, expressed the importance of rain when he said: “A day of rain is as great as the day the Torah was given.” Rabbah exceeded him by saying: “More than the day the Torah was given,” while Rav Hunah said: “The day of rain is greater than the day of the rising of the Dead, because the rising up of the dead is for the righteous, while the rainy day is for the righteous and the sinners” (Bavli Taanit 7:7).
We can learn from the behavior of our ancestor Isaac in Genesis who acted for peace in avoiding conflict over water. He was able to share water resources in the land with the Philistines.
Making running drinkable water available in an equitable way to all who live here between the river and the sea might look like the equivalent of the miracle described in this week’s Mei Merivah story but doing so is the right, moral thing to do, and I believe, in our long-term interest. We are, after all, a land of miracles!
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann is a the director of organisational development at Rabbis for Human Rights.
We have recently been asked why we are not working on the irregular supply of water to the settlements amidst this heat wave. Our response:
The provision of a regular water supply to a community regardless of the residents’ ethnic or religious identity is a very serious matter. So long as the settlements are facts on the ground, we must protect the rights of their residents. Our operating principle as an organization are such:
Just as an organization which distributes food focuses on those who do not have food, it should come as no surprise that a human non-governmental rights organisation focuses on those who have no representation in the government. In Israel, this means Palestinians and people living in poverty, both Jewish and Arab. The settlers, on the other hand, are overrepresented in the government relative to their ratio in the general population. We are therefore certain that this representation will make every effort possible in order to find an appropriate solution to this serious issue. However, if the government is still unable to come to an acceptable solution, you are welcome to contact us and we will see what we can do. Even so, if senior ministers such as Naftali Bennett and Uri Ariel, who represent the settlers, have been unsuccessful, it is doubtful that a small NGO will have the power to change things. We very much hope this unfortunate situation will soon be resolved for the entire population.
As for our efforts, we are working with Palestinian villages in Area C that are under full Israeli responsibility and control regarding civilian matters, and of which many are not connected to water infastructure year round. Israel, who is responsible for civilian affairs in Area C, not only refuses to connect these villages to the water infastructure, but also prevents Palestinian initiatives to develop water infastructures and solutions. Even wells for collecting rain water are regularly destroyed. Additionally, another 220 Palestinians enclaves not in Area C, initially designed as a temporary phase, are dependent on Israel and also subsist with almost no water sources.
The principle that one must provide special assistance to those that do not have power in the governing institutions that impact their lives is also rooted in Judaism. For example Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, one of the fathers of modern Orthodoxy, warns of a situation wherein the strong take it upon themselves to decide for the weak and the voiceless.
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