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No Entrance Here!

December 4, 2015 | Meta Peace Teams, Phoenix Jones | Occupied Kafr Qaddum

The sounds of tear gas being fired and percussion grenades met us upon exiting the taxi and taking my first step unto Occupied Kafr Qaddum land.  The community of demonstrators were running down hill away from the tear gas.  

Street art at the end of the road where demonstrations take place.  
The weekly demos started in Occupied Kafr Qaddum when the road to Nablus was closed.  Israeli settlements on both sides of the of the road were built, thereby prohibiting any Palestinian from using it for travel.  Now, in order to go into Nablus, the community must travel completely out of the way.  This reality is a unwieldy encumbrance for most villages, towns, and cities.  Traveling to nearby towns that once took 10 minutes, now takes an hour or more.  

Since July of 2014, 60 people have been shot by live bullet rounds.  Last week alone, two men were shot on Friday and 3 were shot on Saturday.  One of the men was shot in the leg and instantly blood began spraying out of the wound.  A man tried to help the bleeding was unable to stop the blood.  The young man lost 3.5 liters of blood.  The bullet shot through an artery and vein.  Prior to surgery the young man's leg turned from red to blue.  His leg - and life - were able to be saved via emergency surgery.  He received 50 stitches.

Each Friday during the nonviolent demonstrations, the occupying Israeli army sprays skunk water (a noxious concoction that permeates everything) from a mobile tank, spraying people and homes up and down the road where the demonstrations take place.  On three separate occasions, the water was aimed at the electricity tower, destroying the transformer and leaving the community without electricity for days on end.  The city was forced to absorb the cost in replacing the transformer, which is straining on the community economically.  On September 2, 2015 a settler maliciously cut a major electrical line on a tower that resides on the colonized land that runs into the Palestinian community.  When the Israeli government replaced the tower, the bill was sent to the Palestinian mayor of Kafr Qaddum rather than the settlement that perpetrated the crime.

The occupation not only affects the travel for this community, it also affects the farmers' ability to harvest and tend to their land.  During olive harvest this year, farmers had to leave behind 30% of their olives because they were only given permits for two or three days at a time.  The farmers were forced to use that time for harvest as well as doing their plowing and pruning their trees.  This will not only affect this year's harvest but the next.  If orchards are not properly pruned and tilled, they will not produce a bountiful harvest in the next season.  The former Mayor of Kafr Qaddum made us aware that the 70% of the village depends on olive orchards for income. Farmers are also not given permits to use for the harvest seasons of figs, cactus or almonds; so these resources for the community are completely lost.

Our liberation is bound together; your solidarity is mandatory!

Anyone wishing to host a presentation on Meta Peace Team members' experience in the West Bank, please contact MetaPeaceTeam@gmail.com or MaryHanna.MPT@gmail.com

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