mandag 22. november 2010

Lost lands - "Where are the powerful states? Where is the UN Security Council? Why don't they do anything?"

Two days ago we met Abu Rasheed, an elderly man of 85, in the village of Yasouf. All his land has been stolen from him by Israeli settlers from the Tapuah settlement.

Abu Rasheed, 85 years
He tells a rather sad story about land that has been taken from him little by little by the settlement every year since 1978, when the settlement was founded.
- In the old days you did not have to register your land. Everybody knew who owned how much and what land, Abu Rasheed explains us. Hence he and most other land owners do not have documentation of their property. He owned 60 - 70 dunums (1 dunum equals 1,000 sqm) of land, all olive groves.To-day he has only the land around his house, all the rest has been taken by the settlement. Now you can see settlers' caravans on Rasheed's land and the olive trees are no longer cared for.

Settlement structures
 When we ask him why he did not protest and why he let the settlers take his land just like that, he argues that he has protested several times to the Israeli authorities.
- But what good does it do? The Israeli autorities represent the very same people who are stealing my land, so I never got any support from them, he adds.

Abu Rasheed has been attacked by Israeli settlers on three occasions, the last time only 3 years ago, when he was already an old man. On that day he saw 40 - 50 settlers who were picking his olives and he called the Israeli police. As the police did not show up, as they often do not on such occasions, Abu Rasheed with four friends and one British woman who happened to be in the village, approached the settlers. The settlers were wearing guns and started shooting warning shots at them to scare them away. As Abu Rasheed and his friends continued approaching them, the settlers attacked them and hit Abu Rasheed in the head with a stick and they took the British woman's camera and bags.

Tapuah settlement
Abu Rasheed also tells us about some of the methods that are being used by the settlers to grab land. They let their goats and sheep eat the olives and destroy the trees close to the settlement. Then the settlers claim that the trees are not worth anything and they can take over the land. They often also let wild boars into the fields to destroy the ground and the crops. The villagers cannot kill these animals since they are not allowed to carry weapons, as opposed to the settlers. The road that goes through Abu Rasheed's land is also taken over by settlers, so now the villagers have to take a long detour to get to their land.

The road which is taken over by the settlers
We ask him about the future - and what he thinks will happen. He looks tired and says that he is too old and does not have any future, but he hopes for his children and grand children that they one day will live in peace in Palestine. With a sad look in his face he adds that: - it is sad to see that the olive trees you planted as a young man, and have nurtured and cared for all your life, are now dying with me.

He ends our conversation with the questions: - Where are the powerful states? Where is the UN Security Council? Why don't they do anything?

Ingen kommentarer:

Legg inn en kommentar