Home / Journals / Palestinians in Bir el-Eid win the right to use local road

Palestinians in Bir el-Eid win the right to use local road

Art (Jaber) Gish

13 December 2009

It seems that a major victory has been won regarding Palestinians using their road to get to and from town. Israeli settlers have demanded that only Jews be allowed to use the Palestinian road. For the most part, Israeli soldiers have been following setter orders, not the orders of their superiors or the Israeli courts.

The Israeli courts and the Israeli military have agreed that the Palestinians may use Palestinian roads. Another factor is that the fields the villagers have have been using have now been planted, so it is less tempting for the villagers to go through the fields to avoid conflicts with soldiers and settlers.

This is a major victory for the villagers, due to persistence on the part of the Palestinians, support from Israeli activists, and the presence of internationals in the village In addition to all this, the Palestinians have Israeli law, justice, and just plain common decency on their side.

This does not mean the struggle is over. Settlers are continuing to stop Palestinians on the road, but when confronted by even Israeli activists, they are backing down.

We received some good rain for which everyone is grateful. The hills are beginning to turn green, shepherds are grazing their flocks on the hillsides, and soon all the fields will turn green as the wheat, barley, and lentils come up. The planting is mostly finished. I spent two days accompanying the plowing. One settler watched us from above us, but there were no problems.

The people here probably think I am weird. One of the things I do is play with the little children here every chance I get. Old men here don’t play with children. I also help the women carry water. They protest, but their protests are weak. They carry five gallon buckets of water on their heads. The women have even allowed me to wash my clothes.

A major article on Bir el-Eid by Amira Hass appeared in Ha’aretz, Friday, December 11.

Twenty Israelis were arrested on December 11 for protesting the settlers stealing a Palestinian house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem. The police support the thieves.

Sandy Tolen, the author of The Lemon Tree, came for a visit, and also David Shulman, author of Dark Hope.

I am having fun, basking in the sun with the sheep.