Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Never ending oppression in the West Bank

Yet another harrowing account of sabotage and destruction of Palestinians' lives has come to me from Bil'in in the West Bank. There, weekly protests against Israeli appropriation of land not theirs have been met with violence, tear-gas, arrests, wounding and killing.

Now the Israeli soldiers don't need the pretext of a protest. They come to the village with their guns by day or by night to intimidate, to shoot into homes, to intimidate, to arrest journalists who might witness their vilest actions, - and now to burn down olive trees that are the livelihood of the people whom they persecute.

Below is an account of just the latest crime with an accompanying video taken by a courageous Irish HumanRights defender, Tommy Donnelan of Galway.

"This morning, as is their wont, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) intruded into the village of Bilin. This time there were only three to the forefront with backup behind them when challenged they beat a retreat.

This afternoon, villagers rushed to quench a fire in an olive tree sited close to the Apartheid-Annexation Wall which was deliberately set on fire by the retreating IOF, but which was unable to be saved due to the fire being set in a crevice in the trunk which smouldered throughout the day and it was only in the latter stages that the tell-tale smoke was detected.

This pernicious act of economic warfare has deeply angered the villagers as many are dependent on the sale of the olive oil - 700 to 800 shekels per tree annually - for their livelihoods. To rub salt into their wounds and worse, after the fire was extinguished, the IOF ventured forth from behind the Wall and after detaining three activist-journalists - so as not to record their crimes, subjected the villagers to live fire, tear gas and sound bombs.

Today's destruction of the tree has alarmed the farmers in that phosphorus may have been used to unobtrusively burn the tree and olive groves may follow. So it goes in Bilin, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, ad infinitum, in a vicious world which doesn't care."

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