Awarta, a village with a population of over 6000, lies about 5 miles southeast of Nablus. Originally the village covered 5000 acres; however, the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar confiscated 3000 acres, leaving the village with less than half its land. The village may have burial sites for various rather obscure Hebrew prophets which has been the excuse for settlers to invade the village for prayers at the burial sites. The Israeli Occupation Forces [IOF ] then enter to protect the settlers. A recent agreement gave settlers the legal right to pray at the sites two nights yearly.
Part of Awarta is in area B [Palestinian civil authority and Israeli military control] and part is area C [full Israeli military control] under the Oslo Accords. No construction can be done in Area C, although families already live in the area. Water for the village is controlled by the Itamar settlement and villagers have to buy their water from the settlement.
MPTers were warmly welcomed in a visit with a member of the Awarta village council in the municipal building. MPT visits are made to inform authorities of the work of MPT and MPT’s availability to work in areas of risk - near settlements during plowing and the fall olive harvest, or during times when settlers or soldiers invade the village.