Saturday, June 11, 2011

Biddu Farmers Protest Israel Denying Them Access To Their Own Land

For further information, please read UN Agency report Below
Biddu 10-6-11:

"yisraelpnm on Jun 10, 2011

West Bank farmers struggle to access own land -UNRWA:

"The small West Bank village of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem, is one of several in the area through which the Israeli Barrier runs. The routing of the Barrier is designed to encompass four Israeli settlements near to Jerusalem. In the process, it separates the villagers of Biddu from much of their land.

Although nearly all Biddu’s 6,800 residents are registered refugees, the village was traditionally a prosperous area. Many residents travelled daily into nearby Israel to work. But in recent years, a complex system of control imposed by the Israeli authorities has restricted residents’ ability to travel and to access their own land, and ravaged the village’s economy. As a result, many in this community of refugees now face dispossession once again.

The situation in Biddu is typical of many more West Bank villages near the Barrier. There are 45,000 residents living in this 'enclave’, trapped on three sides by the Barrier’s winding route.

Complex procedures

Since 2000 and the start of the second intifada, access restrictions have prevented local people from working in Israel and East Jerusalem. The construction of the Barrier here in 2007 added to the problem. Unemployment in the village today stands at around 50 per cent. Residents say that dependence on UNRWA’s support is at an all-time high.

Agriculture has become an increasingly important source of income since the introduction of the restrictions. But around half Biddu’s agricultural land, and 70 per cent of its grazing land, is enclosed behind the Barrier, says Ismail, a farmer and representative of the local community.

An intricate system of gates and permits govern farmers’ access to their fields. Out of five gates hemming in the residents, four are open just 20 per cent of the time, Ismail says.

“We sometimes spend all day behind the barriers,” he adds. “You can waste hours waiting to cross both ways.”

Gate system restricts work – and livelihoods

In 2009, the Israeli military pronounced the area behind the fifth gate a 'seam zone’, or closed military area. After that, the gate was open only to allow workers to cross to work in the nearby settlements – only workers with permits, that is. From then on, the olive and fruit trees belonging to Ismail and the rest of Biddu’s farmers lay behind the gate, inaccessible except at certain limited times.

Finding the permits regime an impossible way to work their land, the farmers refused – but were later dismayed to find that without submitting to the system, they were likely to lose their property altogether.

This is because of the continued use by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank of Ottoman laws from the beginning of the 20th century. The laws state that if land sits uncultivated for three years, it can be confiscated.

By 2010, fearing the loss of his land, Ismail applied for a permit. So far, his request has met no response. It has been two years since the farmers have able to harvest their produce.

Products, harvests, profits, and opportunities for development are all squandered in that lost time, says Ismail – causing further economic problems for a community that has already suffered many losses.

And as time passes, the threat of land confiscation – and the collapse of an important part of the village’s livelihood – draws ever nearer.

What is UNRWA doing to help?
UNRWA works to help refugees like Ismail to protect their land and livelihood in the face of the ongoing threat of displacement. Supporting the farming community in Biddu in their request for access, UNRWA monitors the situation and intervenes with the Israeli authorities, as well as asking 'duty bearers’ in the international community to remind Israel of its obligation to respect the farmers’ rights to their land.

UNRWA also coordinates with local farmers and the Israeli authorities to help them access their land; helping pick olives during the long olive season, when farmers are often vulnerable to settler attacks, as well as problems with crossing checkpoints to access their land.

UNRWA and the farmers will continue to exhaust every avenue in order to ensure Biddu residents’ access to the land that belongs to them.

Job creation – an economic lifeline
UNRWA also provides temporary job opportunities to Biddu residents through its job creation programme, which was created as a result of the worsening economic situation in the West Bank. The programme creates over 80,000 temporary jobs per month for men and women living in vulnerable Palestinian communities, such as those in the Barrier enclave.

In 2006, UNRWA opened a clinic in the nearby village of Beit Surik, as a result of restrictions on local people trying to access health facilities in Jerusalem.

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'Gaza health sector on verge of collapse'

PressTV - 'Gaza health sector on verge of collapse':

Thu Jun 9, 2011 11:40PM

"Hamas Health Minister Basem Naem says the Gaza health sector is on the verge of collapse due to shortage of medical supplies caused by the ongoing Israeli siege.

He told a press conference that amid the worst shortage of medicine in Gaza in the last five years due to the Israeli blockade, the patients' lives are being severely threatened in the enclave, a Press TV correspondent reported on Thursday.

The minister said that the Hamas health ministry has decided to cut five percent of its employees' salaries to import drugs and medical supplies.

He also declared a state of emergency, warning that the health sector will collapse if the needed medicines and medical supplies are not imported.

Naem said that hundreds of medications and supplies have run out and warned that all surgeries would be suspended in the next few days if the medical supplies did not start reaching Gaza.

Gaza officials have also put the blame on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, saying that the PA usually and deliberately delays sending Gaza's monthly medicine share.

Due to the siege, Gaza patients have to seek medication abroad in Egypt. Therefore, they need to get official permission to leave Gaza. Most of them complain that the permission is given with a long delay, the correspondent said.

According to health officials, the surgical services have been decreased to a minimum capacity in all hospitals as a result of the tragic circumstances in Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority, run by acting Chief Mahmoud Abbas, said the shortage is severe in the West Bank as well, owing to a lack of money.

Maan News Agency: Minister: Gaza medical crisis 'unprecedented':

"GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are suffering a critical shortage of medicine and medical supplies, Hamas Health Minister Bassem Naem said Saturday.

The crisis was unprecedented even during Israel's massive offensive on Gaza in December 2008, Naem said, adding that the situation was worsening by the day.

Speaking at a conference in Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Naem said 180 types of medicine and 200 medical items had run out in Gaza, including alcohol and needles.

All health facilities were affected by the deficit, the minister said, adding that Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip exacerbated the crisis.

The Gaza health ministry announced a state of emergency in Gaza on Wednesday.

On Friday, Naem announced that pre-scheduled surgeries would be canceled, including children's operations, cardiac catheterization, laparoscopic surgery and bone and nerve operations. He said the ministry would reduce medical services including laboratory tests.

An eye hospital in Gaza City reported Saturday that it had canceled 12 surgeries because doctors had run out of medical supplies.

In An-Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, the shortage affected 142 patients who could not be given medicine.

Sources in the Gaza Health Ministry said Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath had promised to send medicine to Gaza from Ramallah, but that the supplies never arrived.

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Um Al Kheir: Harassment, Animal Murder, A Protest, A Fine and Possible Indictment of Rights Workers.

Um EL Heer IDF and Settlers Harassment Nissim Mossek:

TaayushHebron on Jun 9, 2011

"ההתנחלות הירוקה כרמל בנויה על שטחים שהופקעו מהישוב הבדואי הקטן אום אל חיר. התושבים עניים מרודים גם במושגים של עולם שלישי. השטח מדברי והמים מובאים במכלית. המשפחות שמגוריהם נושקים לגדר ההתנחלות, מתפרנסות בצמצום, מצאנן. מתנחלי כרמל מתנכלים ככל שביכולתם במטרה לסלק את הפלסטינים מאדמתם. הצבא והמנהל האזרחי שותפים לעוולה ועומדים לצד המתנחלים. ההתעמרות באנשי אום אל חיר היא יומיומית, פעמיים הרסו בתים, תכניות מתאר אינן מאושרות. מופעל עליהם לחץ בלתי פוסק, תוך שימוש נואל בחוק כדי לפנותם. תקצר היריעה מלפרט את הרשע. לאחרונה חוסמים המתנחלים את יציאת הצאן למרעה, בחסות הצבא והמשטרה. ביום שלישי האחרון העדר פוזר בברוטליות ועז אחת מתה, כנראה כתוצאה מבעיטה בראשה. למחרת לקח עזרא נאווי את פגר העז והניח אותו במחאה בפתח הבסיס של חטמ'ר יהודה. המח'ט זעם מאד, ואחרי מרדף משטרתי דרמטי עזרא נעצר ע'י בלשי משטרת חברון. אני שנהגתי ברכב נעצרתי אתו. יש כוונה להגיש נגד שנינו כתב אישום. בינתיים עזרא קיבל דוח וקנס כספי של 1500 שקלים על השלכת פסולת. מי שמוכן לעזור בתשלום יבורך. (נסים מוסק) צילום: נאסר נאוואג'עה ופעילי תעיוש

[Google Translation of above text - using Google Translate:
"Caramel Green settlement built on land expropriated small Bedouin village of Umm al Kheir. Poor residents in terms of the Third World. Desert land and water are brought in bulk. Kiss their families settlement's fence, made a living in short supply, flock. Caramel settlers harass all they can to expel the Palestinians from their land. Army and civil administration tort and standing alongside partners settlers. Abuse the people of Umm Al Kheir is a daily, twice destroyed homes, outline plans are approved. Powered constant pressure on them, using the law to evacuate Noel. Not short of space not elaborate the evil. Recently the port block settlers grazed sheep, sponsored by the army and police. Last Tuesday brutally goat herd scattered one died, probably due to kick off her head. The next day Ezra Nawi took the goat carcass and placed it in protest at the entrance to the base of Ahtma"ar Judah. ​​The brigade commander is very angry, and after a dramatic police chase was arrested by detectives Ezra Hebron police. I drove the car stopped him. there is an intention to file an indictment against the two of us . Meanwhile, Ezra received a report and a fine of 1500 dollars on waste disposal. who will help pay bless. (miracles unheated) Photo: Nasser Neawag 'Aah Ta'ayush activists"]

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