Tag archive for "Ta’ayush"

General, Occupied Territories

Coveted Land: Harvesting barley with Palestinian farmer outside Hebron

No Comments 18 May 2014

Despite soaring temperatures, ten RHR volunteers joined Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann and Rabbi Arik Ascherman on Friday, May 16th 2014, in helping Palestinian farmer Abu Anan harvest his land’s barley. Located on the outskirts of Hebron, just outside of the settlement Kiryat Arba, the illegal outpost “Hazon David” was built on Abu Anan’s land. Last year at this time this same field was arsoned and the entire crop lost. Unfortunately, such was not the first incident of settler violence and vandalism. Read Rabbi Ascherman’s thoughts on the day below.
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General, Occupied Territories

Ta’ayush activist assaulted

No Comments 09 February 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 8.44.28 PM

Saturday, February 8th activists from the group Ta’ayush were attacked by 10-15 masked extremists nearby the illegal outpost of Eshtamoa in the South Hebron Hills. The activists assist Palestinian farmers and shepherds each week with their work in various ways. One activists was violently pushed, kicked, punched and beaten with a club. The assault was captured on film, and soldiers were within proximity to the events. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

The Beating and Why I Come Back for More

No Comments 15 July 2012

This post was written by Amitai Ben-Abba, Ta’ayush activist, following an attack by settlers in the south of the West Bank. It illustrates the ‘Ta’ayush way’ and the determination/commitment of these amazing people. Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Counting Rights – Parashot Tazria Metzora Newsletter

1 Comment 17 April 2012

Worshiping the golden calf (illustration from a 1901 Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company)

The Weekly Report of Rabbis for Human Rights

The Counting of the Omer started and slowly we accumulate the first fruits of human rights control. Things are getting to the media and from there to the public. For example: our post on the expanding of the illegal outpost Avigail that was published last week, and this week we can read about this in Akiva Eldar’s article who quoted Rabbi Arik Ascherman in his column in Haaretz. Shabbat Shalom Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

Avigail illegal outpost in the South Hebron Hills

No Comments 09 April 2012

Peace Now: Settlements and Outposts

Rabbi Arik Ascherman updated about a big campaign that is running in the occupied territories to expand an illegal outpost by robbing Palestinian land in South Hebron Hills. The DCO and the army do not enforce the court order to stop the work and the Palestinians pay the price. Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories, Press Releases

In South Hebron hills, Palestinians always fear the next demolition

No Comments 03 July 2011

The Army’s Civil Administration destroyed homes of the Palestinian residents of Bir El ID, South Hebron Hills (June 20, 2011)

On Monday, June 20th, 2011 the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by a private Israeli contracting company, destroyed the village of Chirbat Bir El Id, in the South Hebron Hills. During the course of one morning the forces demolished six residential structures and  tents, and one toilet structure. The forces also uprooted fruit and vegetable patches, and cut the wires of the electrical system that was installed by the Comet-ME organization, which builds wind-turbines and solar panels to provide energy to villages that Israel did not connect to a grid. According to residents, the soldiers told them that they do not deserve to have electricity. In addition, the soldiers also damaged a water tank and sacks of animal food. Continue Reading

Legal Work

Towamin – The struggle for the realization of rights

No Comments 27 April 2011

Towamin – The struggle for the realization of rights, access to land, and law enforcement in the South Hebron Hills.

Following our petition to the Supreme Court about a month ago on the issue of the South Hebron Hills, Wadi Towamin was closed to Settlers. But a signature on a piece of paper is not enough, and the struggle for the enforcement of the order still continues every day. Last week, a Palestinian shepherd of the Mor family was attacked by masked men and was hit in his head and hands.

This week settlers breached the same order by grazing in the Wadi and causing damage to crops.  When the settlers saw that a Palestinian was entering what they consider their land, they threwstones at him although he had the right to enter his land at that time. The Palestinian shepherds tried to get the sheep away and escape, but the settlers called the security forces, claiming that the Palestinians threw stones first. Border Police troops who arrived and saw the attack, chose to adopt the Israeli version. In that act the border police didn’t enforce the law on the Israelis, andinstead prevented the Palestinian landowner entrance to the Wadi, and even arrested two of them. They were released only late at night.

Different law for each nationality
The very presence of the Israelis in the Wadi is a violation of the Order – and it’s a criminal offense (!) But it is a law that is not enforced by the various security forces on the settlers who live in the South Hebron Hills.

The above, especially when it is added  to the previous events in the region, again demonstrate our claim: the very signing of the order is not sufficient to protect the rights of farmers and shepherds. The Security Forces must provide them with protection. From the way the Security Forces conducted the situation in the last few weeks, since the Order was signed, it clearly shows that soldiers serving in the area are unaware of the Order and of their obligation to protect Palestinian rights on their own lands.

Occupied Territories

Shabbat HaGadol and Pesach

No Comments 11 April 2011

On Saturday night a Ta’ayush activist called me right after Shabbat ended.  In a choked up voice he told me about the day’s events I had not witnessed because of the fact that I am Shabbat observant.  Thanks to the work of our OT legal staff  the valley of T’wamin was filled with Palestinian shepherds and their flocks for the first time in over ten years.  The IDF kept at bay the frustrated Israelis so used to having the army due their bidding and chasing Palestinians of their own land.  I was able to check off one of the longer standing items in my open notebook.  It must have been 2001 or 2002 when Yousef Mor first told me that settlers and the army were preventing them from using the valley, and showed me the caves where animals had been stabbed and sacks of grain ripped open.

This week police arrived to evict families from Amidar housing in Ramla, but thought the better of it when they saw the home was filled with activists.  In other locations eviction orders have been rescinded or frozen.
In Beit Shean several families report that Amidar officials are practically banging down their doors to talk to them.  In at least one case, six years worth of dangerous water damage are finally being repaired.
In the  unrecognized village of El-Arakib pressure in Israel and abroad led to the cessation of the JNF’s work and the dismantling of the bivouac for bulldozers.  (The lean tos are still being demolished and another  bivouac has been set up not so far away.)
After some four years of efforts, the army finally ended the takeover of the Hurshiya family land next to Susya.  Most of the land was returned several years ago, but the land on which Moshe Deutsch had managed to plant a vineyard took much more time.
From the social struggles into Passover
None of these victories are the cataclysmic act of salvation recounted in the exodus story.  (And it is not enough to remove drops of wine from our seder cups when recounting the plagues, or to  recite the midrash from Shir HaShirim Rabah containing God’s rebuke to the angels, “My children are drowning and you sing praises.”  We truly do not want to see those with whom we are in conflict suffer anything close to the suffering of the Egyptians, not among our fellow Israelis and not among those beyond our borders.)
None of these successes make it any easier to stomach the pictures coming out of Awarta, nor do they staunch the fear as civilians on both sides are again becoming targets in the south.
However, these acheivements do reinforce a central theme of Passover.  The God whom Rabbi Michael Lerner says is the God of endless possibilities ordains that slaves do not have to accept that they will always be slaves.  Neither do we need to accept that we will always be enslaved to our current reality.
Sometimes, perhaps after years and years of waiting, there comes a magic moment of change, of tikun.
The haggadah emphasizes that God intervenes directly to free us from Egypt, not by means of angels or seraphs or messengers or human agents or history.  Even as we pray for God’s direct deliverance, we know that in the meantime we are the messengers and the human agents through whom God acts.
As we take on this responsibility, we must remember what I was told yesterday when I spoke on a panel about our obligation to fulfill our work with love for our fellow Israelis and faith in their goodness.  In the haggadah we read, “The wicked son says, What is this service to YOU.  TO YOU and not to himself.  By excluding himself from the collective, he denies the essence.”  We must do our utmost not to separate ourselves from the community.  Because we are not wicked and we know it, we are ironically especially susceptible to falling into that very trap.
And finally, let us remember what it is all about.  As Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch prophetically wrote in his Torah commentary written even before the First Zionist Congress:
Exodus 22: 20-23 |You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him/her, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not ill-teat any widow or orphan/  If you do mistreat them, I will heed their outcry as soon as they cry out to Me, and My anger will blaze forth and I will put you to the sword, and your own wives will become widows and your children orphans.” “Do not oppress the stranger…”
“The verse emphasizes the central principle, oft-repeated in the Torah in many places: It is neither race, nor descent, nor birth nor country nor property, or anything else external or due to chance, or anything other than the simple and puree inner essential essence of a human being, which gives him human and civil rights. They are dependent only on the spiritual and moral value of one’s humanity.
And the special explanation, “For you were strangers in the land of Egypt” comes to prevent this principle from being compromised in any way… your whole misfortune in Egypt was that you were “foreigners”, “aliens”, there . As such, according to the views of other nations, you had no right to be there, had no claim to rights of settlement, home, or land.  They could do with you whatever they wished.  As aliens you were without any rights in Egypt.  This was the root out of your slavery and the wretchedness that was imposed upon you. Therefore beware, so runs the warning, from making rights in your own State conditional on anything other than on that basic humanity which dwells in every human being by virtue of being human.   With any suppression of these human rights the gate is opened to the brazen mistreatment of other human beings.  This is the root of the Egyptian horror.”
God, on this Shabbat HaGadol and Passover we pray for the faith necessary to be Your agents in bringing closer the day when Elljah the Prophet will turn the hearts of parents towards their children and the hearts of children towards their parents (Malakhi 3:23) – When Israelis will be reconciled with Palestinians; nation with nation; ethnic group with ethnic group; Israelis among themselves. May we have the stamina to continue working for the day when social and economic gaps will be reduced if not entirely reconciled.  Although we do not know when that day will come, we thank You for the glimpses you have given us of what is possible.
Shabbat Shalom and Khag Sameakh,
Arik

Occupied Territories

Palestinian Rights Department

No Comments 01 January 2011

The OPT Department of RHR works with approximately 30 Palestinian villages in the West Bank, particularly during the olive harvest season (October – December). During that period we bring, almost daily,  bus loads (about 25) of Israeli and foreign volunteers into the Samaria  and south Hebron hills areas to participate in the olive harvest. This occurs in areas of conflict or tension with radical Jewish settlers and/or where there are issues of access with the Israeli army.  This is accompanied by legal work and advocacy work from our Jerusalem office.

We are in regular contact with the Army’s Legal Advisors’ Office and regional offices of the Civil Administration (DCO, i.e. military coordination with local P. population). We leave a paper trail of cases we come across of abuse, neglect, or local collusion between local army officers and settlers (unfortunately not unusual) and sometimes also resort to the courts. A supreme Court decision in 2005 affirming the right of local Palestinian farmers to access their lands unharrassed by settlers was a landmark achievement in this regard.

Since the army has been more cooperative, at least during the olive harvest, even posting guards near areas of conflict with the most extreme Jewish outposts. The rest of the year we accompany farmers, either physically or through lobbying with the appropriate authorities through the cycle of planting, pruning, ploughing and other harvests (almonds, wheat, barley) but this is more low-key than the olive harvest.

Destruction of trees (particularly olives) near settlements, army bases and major roads is a serious problem. Approximately 3000 trees were destroyed during the years 2008-10. This past season we replanted some 2000 in 17 villages.We also work in coordination with  other active human rights groups (BeTzelem, Yesh Din, Taayush) in reporting and dealing with other kinds of human rights issues – arbitrary arrest, collective punishment, confiscation of equipment (such as tractors) and the heavy limitations in area “C’  (65% of the OPT) placed on building and development. We have an ongoing relationship with the Israeli police in Judea and Samaria on these issues.  In 2009, in conjunction with the Viento deTerra (Italian NGO) we helped build a school for Bedouin children in the Judean desert at Chan El Achmar. These children had suffered from lack of adequate access to education, and though a demolition order was issued against the structure it still serves the needs of the 60 attending 1st to 3rd graders two years later. Over the years we have run summer camps, and ongoing language classes (Hebrew and English) for the seriously underprivileged  Jahalin Bedouin tribe  in the area east of Jerusalem. Over the last couple of years this has been done in conjunction with the Combini Sisters – a convent in east Jerusalem concerned with the plight of the Bedouin. We have also been active in East Jerusalem (particularly in Silwan and Sheik Jarrah) on issues of housing discrimination and home demolitions and evictions. Over the past seven months we have been investing  developing programing in the area of environmental education and conservation in the West Bank, and have developed some contacts with young Palestinian and Israeli activists (including some moderate second-generation settlers) and plans  for a pilot project near Jericho (still looking for a budget).

 

 


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