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Posts Tagged ‘occupied territories’

From my journal and letters, my dispatches from the field and now from home in Cambridge Massachusetts, after I had photographed internally expelled Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza (once I can enter Gaza), plus their ancestral homelands. (I and the Alternatives to Violence Project, AVP, team plan a return journey in early summer 2019.)

PHOTOS 

Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.

—Jiddu Krishnamurti

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“Existence is Resistance”

September 21, 2018, Friday, Hebron

Yesterday [September 20, 2018], after the celebratory conclusion of the 5-day basic-advanced Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), workshop, our team guided by Lubna toured the old city of Hebron. A region of another form of internal displacement: Israelis force Palestinians from their homes; the Israelis then occupy the homes.

We went down, down, down, and then a little up to reach the Ibrahimi Mosque, the burial site of the region’s first family, Abraham, aka Ibrahim, Sarah, Jacob, Rebecca, and others,—notably I believe, not Ishmael (where is he buried?).

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Alternatives to Violence Project workshop in Hebron, Occupied Palestine

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Lubna, AVP facilitator from Hebron (L) & Joe Digarbo, facilitator from the United States

This was deeply meaningful to me. Here, supposedly, 4,000 yrs ago, the Abrahamic tradition, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, with the later offshoot of Quakerism, my tradition, allegedly began. The decline and incline of our path reminded me of the original hilly ground Abraham located to settle down (the original settlers?). He bought land which included a cave, The Cave of Machpelah, from the local people to use as a burial site for his beloved but prone-to-jealousy wife, Sarah. Ah, how the land contains history, and how history buries the land. What’s left of this history, how accurate is this history? Jiddu Krishnamurti said, paraphrasing, “religion is a true fiction.”

The new settlers—even tho Jews were here for millennia—now steal property of Palestinians, which they claim was originally theirs. Walking the narrow path ways past numerous shops, food including expertly crafted piles of zattar; clothing including intimate clothing for females; house wares; men’s pants; shoes piled high with an occasional stitching machine to repair shoes; and other merchandise, we walked beneath wire and fabric overhead, installed to protect against the garbage, urine, and feces hurled down by Israeli settlers who’ve moved into Palestinian homes. The injustice is shockingly visible.

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Old City, Hebron, garbage thrown by Israeli settlers

Gated pathways; garbage thrown by Israelis behind fences which entices vermin, snakes, scorpions, etc; Palestinian and Israeli homes directly across from each other; Israeli flags; the periodic raid or forced closure of shops; innumerable checkpoints; and the sealed doors all bespeak impunity. I imagine Rebecca, our Jewish colleague, was even more horrified than us. My Jewish friend, Stan, might have wept.

A young stocky dark shopkeeper joined us as an informal guide, offering personal experience to underscore conditions. This is a route most tourists avoid. About the only visitors are groups like ours, such as my first encounter in 2003 with a delegation, a second one with the Magi pilgrimage, and a third I seem to recall on my own to visit the Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT)in Hebron and Atwani, the Palestinian village in the Southern Hebron Hills. Maybe also in conjunction with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel . My last visit to Hebron may have been about 10 years ago. On this walk I renewed memories and updated insights.

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Shopkeeper

In the mosque, now “shared” since the Six Day War in 1967, 60% synagogue and the rest mosque, we learned about Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish medical doctor who’d moved to Israel and enacted his extreme Jewish religious and nationalistic views. Here in 1994, Baruch Goldstein perpetrated a massacre of worshipping Palestinian Muslims. A worker guided us to bullet holes surrounding the Imam’s sitting place. Goldstein entered thru that door, the guide told us, vividly, walked to this spot and with his automatic weapon killed 29 people, injured nearly 200, before his gun jammed (or he had problems loading a new clip), and he was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. All in a place of worship.

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Bullet wound in wall from Goldstein massacre in 1994

Did this incident register for me nearly 30 years ago? Did it implant a seed that now grows thru my present work? Did it bring me to this special place once again (because I’d been to the mosque several times before) with these special people?

We were long on our feet: Rebecca may have felt it the most. As others discussed history, I sat on the floor to rest against one of the monuments before retracing our route. I’d considered asking if we could walk out thru the Jewish section but this would possibly imperil Lubna who wears a hijab. On the way in we noticed the work of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, HRC, most notably the restoration of a sesame seed press. The manager—he rented from another family who’d owned it for centuries—explained to me that only about 3 groups per week visit, many more during Ramadan because of how the mosque draws, many fewer during the winter, but few buy. I suggested that for me at least, in the region for another month, buying means carrying. So I declined his offers, as did my entire group. Because the income from his shop is not sufficient, he works in a factory.

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Muslim prayer

A small achievement: after I’d asked Lubna where I might purchase an exfoliating scrubber, she found something for me. She explained that local women weave a certain plant into body scrubbers, similar in function to luffa sponges. After purchasing some in Palestine and using them for years at home, I’d searched for similar devices in the Boston area where I live, and on-line; I failed to find anything other than inferior plastic surrogates. I was not sure that what Lubna found for me was precisely what I’d searched for, but I bought 2. Ten shekels or about $3 each. To last perhaps until I expire. Watching as we strolled thru the souk, this was the only shop I spotted that carried this particular item.

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Hebron body scrubber

We stopped in a garden for respite, some drank coffee and some fresh-squeezed carrot juice (I discovered later they feed the carrot scraps to their chickens—some well-fed chickens), reviewed the walk and the AVP workshop, found a bus, and finally made it home. Another long, tiring, fulfilling day on the road.

LINKS

Inside The West Bank: The Troubled City Of Hebron (a dual narrative tour) by Matthew Karsten (

Tomb of the Patriarchs (Ma’arat HaMachpelah)

Baruch Goldstein by Matt Plen

Destroying History by Ahmad Sub Laban (2004)

Hebron Rehabilitation Committee: Architectural Preservation of the Old City of Hebron

TO BE CONTINUED

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From my journal and letters, my dispatches from the field and now from home in Cambridge Massachusetts, after I had photographed internally expelled Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza (once I can enter Gaza), plus their ancestral homelands. (I and the Alternatives to Violence Project, AVP, team plan a return journey in early summer 2019.)

PHOTOS

September 12, 2018, Wednesday, Bethlehem

(My field notes only until I review the audio recording.)

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First woman I’ve photographed for this set. Nidal Al Azraq’s mother, 9 years old when she fled during the Nakba in 1948.

Remind Nidal to send medicines with next person coming (which could be me).

Her home village, Al Qabu is now Begin Park, one hell of an irony (since Begin, a former prime minister of Israel, organized terrorist groups to end the British Mandate and form the state of Israel. This is not the much larger Menachem Begin Park near Tel Aviv.)

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Al Qabu

Since expulsion she has never visited.

Fled first to Bethlehem, then to Aida camp.

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Aida refugee camp

Sad when contemplating home.

Feels her health deteriorated from sadness over loss.

Wants to see my photos, either prints or files, ask Nidal and Mousa (my assistant and translator) how to do this.

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Mohammed (Mousa) Al Azzeh, one of my organizer sand translators, an accomplished photographer-videographer working for the Lejee Center in Aida

Wants me to cut a sliver of a fig tree in her village and bring it to her to plant.

I’d asked her if there were something of hers she’d like me to deposit in the village. Answered no.

I told her she is beautiful, her mouth especially.

While photographing in the house I spotted a woman in bed with an electronic device who quickly turned away from me.

Five of her children born in one room, others in other places in the house.

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In a photograph on the wall one of her sons, 21 years (?) in prison; she stands with him (also in another photo with his father).

I feel project has finally, fitfully begun; I’ve met actual people and heard their stories.

Whether to video or photograph?

How to use narration, get it translated?

Not particularly pleased with my first photos.

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Her home

I might return to photograph full frontal view, she looking directly into camera, as an opener and closer of this and all sessions.

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LINKS

Al Qabu

More about Al Qabu

Zochrot tour to al-Qabu village by Zochrot (video, 2016)

Al-Qabu tour by Zochrot – Report

Photo-story: A Trip to al-Qabu

Al Qabu Becomes Mevo Beitar: Palestine Becomes Israel by Skip Schiel (video, 2018)

About the Jewish National Fund (JNF) which funds many of the parks and other architectural instruments making Arab villages disappear, by BADIL the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

Aida Refugee Camp (UNRWA) 

TO BE CONTINUED

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UPDATE: THE BOOK IS PUBLISHED. AVAILABLE HERE.

Titled Eyewitness Gaza, like our movie and my latest slide show, I will publish this book via Blurb.com. Here is a foretaste. Publication date is January 5, 2012.

(My special thanks to Maria Termini who helped inspire and edit this book, offering numerous suggestions; thanks also to my daughter Joey who led the way by publishing her own Blurb books.)

Dedicated to the youth of Gaza, infants to young adults.

I’m the Palestinian child,

I carried the grief early,

All the world forgot me,

They closed their eyes to my oppression,

I’m steadfast,

I’m steadfast.

—poem by Lutfi Lassini, recited by Mona Samouni in
Where Should the Birds Fly?
, a movie by Fida Qishta on Blip.TV

Mona Samouni shows the identity photos of her late mother and father, photo courtesy of Adie Mormech

A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE SITUATION & STRUGGLES

 BY SKIP SCHIEL

At the moment, in short, the situation is dismal, perhaps the worst in decades—but with strong determination on the part of many Gazans to end the siege, end the occupation, end the entrapment, end the injustice, and breathe free. “Worse than a prison,” as my friend Husam stated a few years ago before conditions worsened, “now a graveyard.”

Husam may have anticipated Operation Cast Lead, the vicious Israeli assault on Gaza for 22 days which began on December 27, 2008. According to B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, the Israeli military killed 1,389 human beings, including 248 police officers (civilians) and 320 children under the age of 16 and injured more than 5,300 more, up to two-thirds civilian. The Israelis destroyed thousands of homes, factories, and agricultural zones, rendering many homeless and jobless. Three Israeli civilians died during this period, all from rocket attacks, and ten military died, four of them by friendly fire. When I was last in Gaza in late 2010 more than 200 families still lived in tents.

For some recent history: in 2007 Hamas militarily ousted its main political rival Fatah and gained full control of the Strip. In 2006 Hamas won an open, free, fair, well-monitored Palestine-wide legislative election, trouncing Fatah. In response, Israel and many other governments, including the United States, began a siege lasting to this day. And in 2010 Israel loosened the siege very slightly after the Mavi Marmara incident when Israel attacked an international humanitarian aid convoy and killed seven Turkish civilians.

Any accountability here? Any complaints from the US or other governmental supporters of Israel? Barely.

However, the rise of the international court system offers good prospects. The UN Human Rights Council commissioned an investigation into Operation Cast Lead, the so-called Goldstone Report, which in fact was co-written by three other people. Despite retraction by the lead author, the eminent South African jurist, Richard Goldstone, of portions of the report which claimed Israel deliberately targeted civilians, the other authors and Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International corroborated the findings.

My experience on the ground—five visits since 2004—inspires me. I have noticed much sumud  (steadfastness), better use of media, the rise of the youth movement which is coincident with the Arab Spring, and expanded international awareness. The Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Movement confirms my hope of eventual resolution.

My message is to show as much love as you can to your parents, because I lost my parents and I am not able to care for them anymore.

—Mona Samouni, age 11 years

MY PERSONAL STORY

I began this multi-year photo project after I’d grown successively and painfully aware of the conflicts in Palestine/Israel. My first trip with a delegation in 2003 confirmed my decision to photograph with an open heart the situation and struggles for justice, peace, and security in the Levant. Growing up Catholic seeded my desire to travel to the Holy Land and “walk in the footsteps of Jesus.” My work in South Africa during the final phase of apartheid illustrated the many parallels between apartheid there and injustice in the Levant. My escalating awareness stirred me to take some sort of action to at least quell my outrage. And that first trip brought me face to face with the Mediterranean light which continues to challenge me as an artist and human being. Also, personal connections with so many Palestinians and Israelis working for justice with peace—risking their lives—encourage me to continue.

The situation is both complex in how we tell the story and parade the justifications and yet simple on the level of injustice, impunity, the violation of international law, and the denial of basic human rights. I hope at the very least to open a few windows and doors for others who may seek comprehension and action.

I am able to enter Gaza because I volunteer with the American Friends Service Committee. I teach photography to young adults thru the AFSC’s exemplary Quaker Palestine Youth Program. I photograph their operations—much else as well, often volunteering my photographic skills to other Gazan (and Israeli and West Bank) organizations.

During Operation Cast Lead I learned about the brutal assault on the extended Samouni family and neighborhood in the Zeitoun section of Gaza City. The Israeli military rounded up one group and forced them into one building which the military pledged would be safe. Then the army wantonly and without warning attacked that building. In this single incident, early thirty people died. A total of forty-eight people were killed and twenty-seven homes, a mosque and a number of farms were destroyed. To my eyes, this was a clear massacre. I was horrified and never expected to meet the survivors. Thanks to the International Solidarity Movement who had raised money to buy winter clothing for the children, I accompanied the volunteers and was able to meet, interview, and photograph this extraordinary extended family.

Fatah and Hamas are political rivals, splintering the Palestinian freedom movement. Fatah rules in the West Bank, Hamas in Gaza, and altho they signed a reconciliation document in early 2011, nothing tangible has changed. During the inter-factional violence of 2007 my dear friend and AFSC staff member, Ibrahem Shatali, was injured while he and others tried to stop the fighting. For the movie, also titled Eyewitness Gaza, I interviewed him at the shooting site.

Sderot is an Israeli town of nearly 30,000 citizens less than one mile from Gaza. Thus it suffers the brunt of rocket and mortar attacks from Gazan militants. Israel uses the rocket attacks to justify the continuing siege and violence against Gaza, a ploy that might mask deeper intentions—forced removal. Yet the trauma is real, in Sderot and most of Israel. On a different scale than in Palestine but pivotal in many Israeli lives. I wanted to visit Sderot to experience and understand the trauma, share its story, and support Sderot residents who challenge Israeli policies when they cause more suffering to all parties and do not resolve the crisis.

Possibly among the most useful services I’ve provided in Gaza are the photo exhibits I help coordinate with my workshop students. They are highly motivated and do excellent work, learn how to depict what they face to a wider world, and experience achievement when they mount their exhibitions in Gaza. One of my hopes is to bring their photos to an international audience.

The photos in this book were mostly made in 2008-2010 and many appear in the movie by Tom Jackson, Eyewitness Gaza.

I conclude with gratitude to:

Amal Sabawi, Ibrahem Shatali, Mosab Abu Dagga, Adham Khalil, Islam Modhoun, Kanaan Samouni, Raghda El Jedali, Quaker Palestine Youth Program in Gaza, Patricia Sellick, Tom Jackson, American Friends Service Committee, Friends Meeting at Cambridge, Ken Barney, Josephine Schiele, Maria Termini, Katy Downey, Salem Quarter Quaker Funds, my support committee, & many others.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

Action ideas

Information about Palestine and Israel

Photos

Blog

Eyewitness Movie

Teeksa YouTube channel

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Middle East Children’s Alliance Maia water project in Afaq Jadeeda

Rafah sewage lagoon, 2006

A dialog between Susan Koppelman of LifeSource & Skip Schiel. We try to clarify the water rights issue in Palestine & Israel based on our many experiences there. Missing from this exchange are Israeli voices. I invite them to join us. This post is dedicated to Fadia Daibes Murad (with special thanks to Cliff Bennett for inspiring it).

Although [increasing] by the day, the water crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) is less and less visible in the daily Palestinian discourse. The more contentious issues like the refugees, Jerusalem borders and security are occupying the minds of at least the Palestinian policy and decision makers. Interestingly enough, and contrary to what prevails in the OPT, many Israeli water advocates are grasping the opportunity of intentional neglect to the water problem in the OPT to serve their national purpose for confirming the status quo with regard to water. They are more consistent than ever in reiterating that there is a water crisis in Israel and that their proposals concerning desalinated water and the import of water from Turkey to solve the Palestinian water problem are feasible. 

—Fadia Daibes Murad in “Not Even a Drop…Until the Palestinians Drop”

(continuing the dialog between Susan Koppelman and me)

Hi Skip,

Thank you for this opportunity to go more deeply into the question of what can Palestinians, and those in solidarity with the Palestinian people, do to improve the water and sanitation situation on the ground within the current reality of the Israeli Occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory and resources.  For sure, we agree with the principle that ‘the fact of occupation does not absolve Palestinians of their responsibility’ – to the Palestinian people and to the ecosystem – to minimize harm, to protect water resources and to promote access to safe drinking water – to the extent that to do so is within their means.

I am particularly interested in having this conversation with you because you have spent a lot of time in Palestine meeting with Palestinians and local experts to better understand the water and sanitation situation.  You are aware of the disaster that happened in Beit Lahia, Gaza in 2007 when the sewage lagoons overflowed and five residents of the village Um An-Nasser were drowned to death in sewage.  You have seen the above ground river of sewage from two illegal Israeli settlements – Ariel Industrial Zone and Barkan Industrial Zone – which flows through Sulfit in a parallel line to the properly submerged sewage network disposing of waste from the Palestinian municipality of Sulfit – it is amazing to see the kilometers of manholes to the proper Palestinian sewage network running just 20 meters parallel to the sewage stream of toxic waste from the illegal Israeli industrial zones/colonies.  For the sake of this discussion let’s focus on these two examples, although I’m very happy to discuss others as well, if you would like.

Photo by Bshar Ashour of the Palestine Hydrology Group (PHG)

Um An-Nasser, photo by Ehab Zaheem

In the case of the overflow of the sewage lagoons at the Beit Lahia Waste Water Treatment Plant in the north of Gaza in 2007, it is fine to ask the question: What could Palestinians have done with materials and resources found in Gaza in order to avert this catastrophe?  Honestly, I am not certain as to the answer to this question.  I’ve always understood this case to be a simple issue of access to materials, but I’ll look into it!  Do you know?  What I do know is that for years, Israel prevented the Gazan Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) from importing materials needed to finish constructing the emergency phase of this treatment facility, and to this day Israel is obstructing the import of materials and spare parts needed for day-to-day functioning of the plant, as well as materials needed to construct the next phase of the project that would allow CMWU to go beyond basic treatment and treat the waste water to the quality that it can be used to recharge the depleted aquifer in Gaza.  In fact, the emergency phase of the Beit Lahia Treatment Plant was only completed after the 2007 catastrophe, at which point Tony Blair finally and famously intervened to pressure Israel to allow in the necessary materials.

Graffiti says, “young girl drowned here”

I am very familiar with calls before this crisis from CMWU – supported by the UN – urging Israel to do the right thing and allow entry of the materials needed to support the banks of the lagoon so that they wouldn’t collapse.  As you may know, LifeSource, the Palestinian water rights organization that I work with, is a member of EWASH, a coalition organization of groups working in the water and sanitation sector in occupied Palestinian territory which includes some UN agencies (UNICEF, UN Development Program, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA).  I remember both EWASH and the UN circulating a press release from CMWU calling for pressure on Israel to allow materials entry to prevent the collapse of the embankment of the lagoon.  I am unfamiliar with any suggestion from any UN worker that CMWU had the means to otherwise prop up the overstressed banks of the lagoon.  I’m interested to learn if you know of other options that Palestinians had at that time, given that materials entry through the humanitarian crossings with Israel was being prevented.

The film Gaza is Floating produced by LifeSource looks at the sewage situation in Gaza and includes an interview with the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coordinator for the UN in Gaza that may be interesting to you.  The 9 minute version of the film is online at www.lifesource.ps/gazafloating.

By the way, there is a 15 minute version of the film that goes more into some development and engineering questions particular to the sanitation situation in Khan Younis and surrounding villages, and I think is relevant to contextualizing your statement that new lagoons have been blocked by local Palestinians crying NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard): new basic emergency lagoons create more problems, they can be very unsafe, and they are not a solution to Israel’s blockade of humanitarian materials or a substitute for proper sewage treatment facilities.  What is needed is the development of sophisticated facilities that fully treat the sewage, not more lagoons for storing it. I too have traveled Gaza touring the water and sanitation situation, and Gazans are eager for proper treatment facilities in my experience.  I welcome questions or comments arising from my comments here or from the film, regarding options for Palestinians in Gaza to treat wastewater.

Unknown health affects, Beit Lahiya, Um An-Hasser

It is also a good question I agree to ask what can Palestinians in the West Bank due to treat wastewater given Israeli restrictions on sanitation development.  I am sure we both agree that Israel is responsible for the obstruction over a nearly 15-year period of multiple large-scale waste water treatment plants in the West Bank – the World Bank even stated this bluntly in their 2009 report Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development. What then can Palestinians do more locally to treat wastewater or to reuse gray water at the household level is a fine question, as long as it doesn’t absolve Israel from recognizing Palestinians’ human right to water and sanitation and from allowing large-scale wastewater treatment facilities to treat municipality sewage in an efficient way.  The reality is that wastewater treatment is very expensive, it is 3 times more expensive I have heard to build a sewage network than a water network.  Smaller units for treating wastewater at the household level are unaffordable for most families and for the government to invest in.  The fact is that many families are already reusing gray water out of necessity.  Families are using the same water they use to wash their clothes to wash the floor, etc.  Water conservationists around the world have a lot to learn from Palestinians and others surviving on very little water each day, day after day, out of necessity.

You are right that it is not only the illegal Israeli settlements, but many Palestinian municipalities as well that are dumping untreated wastewater into wadis.  Given that Israel has prevented the development of proper treatment facilities, what can Palestinians do with their waste water?  In the West Bank, only 31% of Palestinian households are connected to a sewage network, the rest use cesspits and septic tanks.  Sulfit is one of the lucky municipalities that has been able to implement construction of a sewage network, but after the sewage is carried away from the residential areas of the municipality there is not a completed treatment facility to treat this waste water.  There aren’t proper facilities for dealing with wastewater from cesspits and septic tanks, again because of Israeli obstruction.  So, yes, here, mechanisms for treating wastewater that are low-cost, local AND DO NOT REQUIRE ISRAELI PERMISSION could be very useful in allowing Palestinians to finally be able to treat their waste water in an acceptable way as they’ve been struggling to do since before Oslo.  Keep in mind non-local options, like reed treatment, are not possible because land that isn’t built up has been claimed by Israel.  Bacterial treatment could be an option in the near future if/when the price comes down.

Smelter dumping toxins from the Israeli West Bank industrial settlement of Barkan

Raw sewage from Barkan industrial park

Retaining wall built by Denmark to confine Israeli sewage flowing thru Salfit region

We can go one step further and look at compost toilets as a solution.  Surely this is not an option in the refugee camps and other overcrowded areas.  I can say from experience that there is a lot of resistance to compost toilets in Palestine.  There is a lot of resistance in the US and other parts of the world as well.  Are Palestinians who are dealing with the gruesome reality of Israeli occupation to blame if they flush their toilets while Israel obstructs creation of a treatment facility to treat the sewage they flush?  Should Palestinians, given the reality of Israeli obstruction of Palestinian sanitation development, be held to a different standard and be blamed for not shitting into a bucket to fertilize their fruit trees?

Trash collection in my experience is such an anomaly.  I can understand your tendency to link trash collection with sewage treatment, but, in fact, I think they are unrelated.  It is very important to Palestinians to treat sewage and to keep it away from their water supply, for many reasons, including religious reasons.  The motivation, determination and perseverance of Palestinians to address this problem is well documented.  It is disappointing that trash collection has not been approached in a similar way.  I’ve wondered for some time if this has to do with Palestinians’ reactions to Israelis viewing Palestinians as trash and trash collectors.  A friend of mine suggested to a Palestinian permaculturist that he organize children in his village to clean up the trash in the streets and he was offended.  ‘My people are not trash collectors!’ he asserted.  I agree with you that there is value in Palestinians taking responsibility for their trash.  Also, it is really frustrating to study the water and sanitation situation, to spend so much energy and resources in supporting Palestinians to come up with creative solutions for having their basic right to water and sanitation, and to see that beyond compost toilets, there seem to be few options for Palestinians to make much observable impact on the ground.  If new technology can change this and support Palestinians’ rights to water and sanitation and to self-determination, this would be fantastic!

Middle East Children’s Alliance Maia water project
Me:
susan,

excellent response, very well-informed and decidedly compassionate, to me and others. i wish i could answer the questions you put to me, i’ll ponder them. i wish i could go to someone like the late water expert, fadia daibes murad, for her intelligent answers and attitudes. (i do plan to briefly quote her in my blog), i’ll think about who else i might contact, someone from phg in gaza for instance who toured me around the beit lahiya spill or fareed in the wb who you might know, not exactly a water expert but knowledgeable about many topics. as you know, reaching people thru the long arm of the internet can be vexing, even when they’re down the street.

i’ll read your letter more carefully tomorrow, may shorten it and other entries of yours and mine, and probably post the blog tomorrow. we can always add to it later, esp if others join in the conversation.

thank you for your presence,

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

skip,

there are many intelligent and creative folks working on these issues!  i knew fadia, yes i know fareed, i’ve worked with phg [palestine hydrology group] in ramallah and had contact with phg in gaza.  i know many others as well.  clemens messershmidt is a geo-hydrologist who’s been living in the west bank for more than 15 years.  my colleague recently attended a talk of his in ramallah where he stated the top 3 priorities for palestinian water development: 1. to drill new wells. 2. to drill new wells. 3. to drill new wells.  he was very succinct.  yes, my response was long indeed!

LINKS

“The Occupied-Occupier Relationship in the Context of Water Resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” by Fadia Daibes Murad

Children going to the dump instead of school, photos by eman mohammed

“Recycling garbage into art,” Gaza style

“Devastated Wastewater Pumping Station and Partially Damaged the Headquarter”

Coastal Municipal Water Utility (CMWU)

Gaza is Floating, a movie by LifeSource

There’s Enough Water for Both,” by Joseph Croitoru, about the analysis of Clemens Messershmidt

LifeSource Project

Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH)

Maia water project of the Middle East Children’s Alliance

My blog post about Fadia Daibes Murad (with links to some of her writing)

More information about Fadia Daibes Murad

PHOTOS: a small sample from my hydropolitics series:

Along the Mediterranean Coast: Yaffa-Tel Aviv & Gaza, November & December 2010—part 1

El Mina, The Old Port—1

The Living Waters of Palestine & Israel

MOVIE: The Rains Returned to Gaza

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