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Reports from the Brighton Group - Ethnic Cleansing in Al Farisiya

Sarah | 30.10.2008 12:25 | Campaign against Carmel-Agrexco | Anti-militarism | Palestine | South Coast | World

This is part of a series of blogs from delegation of eight people from Brighton who arrived in the Tubas region of occupied Palestine last week. The delegation is part of the project by the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group. The group's aims are to highlight Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in the region, raise awareness about life under occupation and create practical solidarity links between grassroots organisations in Brighton and Tubas region.

This is an excerpt from Sarah's blog

Sitting under a tree outside the house of Jassir Daraghma after a day of travelling in the Jordan Valley, my surroundings felt calm and peaceful. In reality Jassir knows that any day the Israeli Army could turn up and destroy his family home. It would not be the first time he would have to live through such an experience. He was born in Al Farisiya, as was his father and his grandfather.

Until 1997 the family had two concrete built houses, each with two rooms. When the Israeli's came to demolish the houses Jassir's father left to live in a nearby town, but Jassir is adamant that he will not do the same. Demolition orders have now been issued on the houses of all five families that farm the land for crops. The Israelis know that if they had to move away it would be too expensive for them to return every day to farm the land and they would eventually be left with no choice to sell it at a knock down price. But they say this will not happen, as they are determined to stay.

The village has 5000 dunums of very fertile land that supports five families that grow dates, bananas, lemons, grape vines and other vegetables, and a further fifteen families live on the slopes of the surrounding hills herding sheep. Before 1967 there were four water wells in the village (named: Ein El Malih, Ein El Ghazal, Ein El Halwe and Ein El Sharq) making this some of the best farming land in the area. When the Israeli settlements came to the area they dug far deeper wells and the Palestinians wells gradually dried up. They then began to pipe water from a nearby spring on their land, until the Israeli's cut the pipes in April this year and forbade them from using the water. Not prepared to give in they now have to collect drinking water by tank and dam the local stream with mud and rocks to collect water to irrigate their crops.

Before the occupation in 1967 200 families lived in the area. Now just 20 families manage to eke out a living here, steadfastly refusing to leave or to work for the illegal Israeli settlements that surround them: Rotem, Mahola and Maskyiot.

When I asked Jassir why they want him to go he said: "The Israeli's want to extend the settlement and take the land, but I won't allow them to farm the land of my grandfather, and that we have lived on for generations. The occupation is making threats against the Palestinian people in order to take their land."

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