MPT was asked to accompany a family that lives in Awarta to harvest olives in their grove near the three illegal Israeli settlements of Itamar, Yitzah and Bracha. The Palestinian farmers feared the harvest would be disrupted by the settlers. When MPT and the Palestinian family arrived at their trees, it was soon evident that all of the trees had already been picked. Since 2007, the Awwad family have had their olives stolen. Five Awwad families have 200 olive trees which normally yield 300 kilos of olives. This year they gave up after we helped them harvest only 5 kilos of olives.Five kilos of olives would fill a 2 ½ gallon bucket; 300 kilos would fill approximately 12 bushels.
The two brothers & another relative were resigned as they explained with a smattering of English, that this has happened several years in a row.They did not seem angry, they did not yell.They were gracious to MPT members, shared their breakfast with us & took us to help another family with their olive harvest.This family spoke almost no English and we speak only a few words of Arabic.From what we were able to understand this family was under no threat but we did see some Israeli military vehicles pass by as we worked.They were apparently in route to their base in the valley, there to protect the three settlements built up on the hilltops.From what?Perhaps from the Palestinian farmers harvesting their own crops before the settlers are able to steal them?!
As we waited in Awarta we observed several posters & paintings on the building of one young man.When we asked about them, we were told that he was killed by the Israeli military, a year ago, Oct 23, 2009.International Solidarity Movement published an article about the murder of this 29 year old father last year.
(Please note that it is the goal of MPT that information on this blog by our Peace Team members be presented in the most professional, factual way possible; however, the views or opinions expressed are those of the writer(s) only and do not necessarily reflect the view of MPT as an organization.)
MICHIGAN PEACE TEAM (MPT) SENDS TEAM OF FOUR TO THE WEST BANK
Citizens of the West Bank report that the presence of MPT members is effective in decreasing violence in the region.
West Bank; April 8, 2008: A four member team of the Michigan Peace Team, ages ranging from 26 - 69, has arrived in the Occupied West Bank. The team will be working with Palestinians, Israelis and other Internationals to promote nonviolent conflict resolution. MPT’s violence reduction team is prepared to engage in a variety of nonviolent methods to de-escalate potentially volatile situations. Team members accompany Palestinian children to school and shepherds to their fields (both of which are in danger of being attacked by extremist Israeli settlers), and act as international observers at military checkpoints. Additionally, they join with other Israelis, Palestinians and other Internationals in demonstrating against the Separation wall Israel is constructing on Palestinian land. On March 13, 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Islamic Summit in Dakar and relayed that violence against unarmed Palestinian citizens continues to escalate. He said that Israel’s disproportionate and excessive use of force against the Palestinians has led to a large number of civilian casualties, including children. "Israel has to comply with the law and international legality and show restraint. We condemn the Israeli attacks on Palestinian peoples," he said. Michigan Peace Team was founded in 1993. It provides trainings in active nonviolence designed for the specific needs of the participants, and deploys peace teams into places of conflict (both domestically and internationally) to reduce violence. MPT convenes, supports, and participates with local peace action groups and gatherings, and mentors individuals seeking experience with international tams in places of conflict. It also educates the public to the vision and practice of active nonviolence. MPT has deployed peace teams into areas of potential violence around the world. XXX
MPT Fields Four Special Teams in 2009!
Click here for our Special Exploratory Juarez Team Blog
MPT in India
International Ghandi Award: Founder Peter Dougherty Honored
Click here for our blog on the MPT Team to the Gaza Freedom March