July 21st-28th 2005
There will be five direct actions in the Nablus area, four in the surrounding villages and one at the main checkpoint.
Friday July 22nd: Asira Village
Direct Action to open Sabaatash (17), the main road from Asira to Nablus.
Asira village, with a population of 12 000, has been under closure since the start of this intifada. The main road connecting the village to the town has been closed by earth mounds, forcing the residents to take a time-consuming and costly longer route into town through another checkpoint where they may be further delayed or even denied passage.
This has a particularly negative affect on students living in the village who attend Nablus’ An Njah University, who find they must pay 20 shekels for the longer trip only to be potentially denied entry at the Beit Iba checkpoint because they are under 25 years of age.
Farmers are also greatly affected. Asira has been famous for the high quality of its olive oil and used to host a thriving market, attracting buyers from great distances. Now the market is gone, and farmers have difficulty taking their oil as far as Nablus. Some Asira families try to spend olive oil rather than cash in the village shops. The economy of the village has been destroyed by the closure.
In April there was a direct nonviolent action to open Sabaatash road, with protestors marching close to an Israeli military base, from the village to the road block. International and Israeli activists walked the route with villagers who spontaneously removed the roadblocks. Local TV celebrated the first taxi to take the Sabaatash route to Nablus in four years. However, within hours the army closed the road again, declaring the area a closed military zone and constructing a new block. The army had watched and filmed the entire action from a Palestinian home they had occupied (monitor this house during future actions). Locals report a significantly increased army presence in the area from the date of that action until today. Soldiers have begun to man the roadblock regularly and have fired at innocent citizens. Residents now feel unable to even safely walk around the roadblocks. Shepherds, who have become reluctant to use their adjacent part of their lands, will join in this latest demonstration with their flocks.
The action will be to walk Sabaatash from Nablus to Asira where we will meet the villagers and walk back towards Nablus. This time residents may want to walk the route without moving the roadblocks.
Israeli activists welcome
For more information on Friday’s action or other information about the summer campaign, contact Mohammed (ISM Nablus) 052-222 3374 or 054-621-8759. Email: [email protected]
Sunday, July 24th: Salem Village
Action to work on land threatened by settler attacks
Salem is a farming village, population 5000, to the east of Nablus. Since the start of this intifada, Salem and its neighboring villages Asmut and Deir Al Hatab have been closed from Nablus to the west and Beit Furik to the southeast by ditches several kilometers in length, at points 3 meters deep and 5 meters wide. At times, sewage from the settlement floods part of the land and prevents people crossing the fields. The road across is controlled by a part-time checkpoint. On 18th, July ISMers were present when soldiers at the checkpoint shot a man crossing the field.
Elon More settlement has confiscated much of the land belonging to these farming villages. The land still nominally belonging to the Palestinians is subject to severe restrictions by the Israeli army, who only allow the people to work their land on a few specified days.
Earlier this year a further 85 dunums of land was taken from Deir Al Hatab, which has now lost all of its land up to 30m from the last house. Officially Israel says the land is taken for “security of the military base” rather than settlement expansion but the base is only there for the expanding settlement.
Elon More settlers have a history of making violent attacks on Palestinians. In April of this year, a group of 40 Elon More settlers were rounded up by soldiers in Al Bidan Valley. Another group set fire to a large area of the olive grove.
The action in Salem will be to plant trees on the land separated from the village by a “settlers-only” road.
Monday, July 25th: Huwara Checkpoint and Military Base
Demonstration for Prisoners and Against Closure of Nablus
Since the start of this intifada, Nablus has been surrounded by checkpoints – four of which are currently active. Nablus city is still subject to closure and often inaccessible to the residents of surrounding villages who are dependent on the services in the town. There are three main Israeli military bases surrounding the city, with additional outposts on the hilltops around the town and region.
There are five large settlements close to the town. They are currently expanding and stealing yet more land from the Palestinian villages in the region.
There are currently 8000 Palestinians, many of whom are women and children, in Israeli jails. 1400 of these prisoners come from Nablus. On the day of the action, international activists will join Palestinian medics, prisoners’ families and other groups. We will assemble at the bomb-damaged government buildings, from which we will take buses towards Huwara, before marching to the checkpoint. Prisoners’ mothers will read letters for their sons. We aim to show solidarity with the prisoners, highlighting their plight to the media, and to protest the continued restrictions on movement in the Nablus region.
July 26th and 27th – Tana
Action to reclaim razed village
On July 5th, Israeli forces demolished the entire village of Tana, near Beit Furik, Nablus. Tana was a small farming village in the Jordan valley in one of the longest continually-inhabited areas of the world. Residents say the area is mentioned in the holy books and was known to be populated 3500 years ago. The village mosque, the only structure not to be demolished, has stood for several hundred years.
Residents received one day’s notice that their homes were to be demolished, informed by a piece of paper left outside one of their dwellings. The villagers knew no one to call and the razing of their twenty-two homes went ahead unhindered. The UN estimates 170 persons have been “displaced”, yet the villagers say Tana was home to 400 people at the height of the season.
The paper announcing the demolition says that the villagers had built their homes without Israeli permission. Their caves and stone constructions are hundreds of years old. In recent years they have added steel and concrete structures to the front of their caves. A school house was built six years ago and this too was destroyed. When the army destroyed the village, they demolished not only the steel structures but the caves themselves and even the villagers’ cars.
In 1989, the villagers had a court case in Israel, after which they were told they would be allowed to farm the western portion of their land. In recent years, however, the villagers have been threatened by settlers from Itamar, who came and swam in their water supply.
The villagers are not defeated and refuse to be intimidated. In defiance of the army’s destruction of their homes, the people of Tana intend to go back to their land, rebuild their homes and continue farming. International and Israeli activists will support this action, some staying in the village overnight.
July 28th – Asira
Action to open road to farm land
As in Salem, the people of Asira are prevented from farming even their land that has not been stolen by the occupation.
The road from the village to the land has been blocked by the Israeli army with an earth mound. Five families live outside of this block and are unable to reach their homes by vehicle. Israeli army jeeps regularly patrol the area and prevent people from accessing their land.
We will move the mound to open the road for the isolated families.
Israeli activists welcome