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Settler harassment continues in Asira’s Water reservoir project

4th August 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Asira al Qibliya , Occupied Palestine

This week, settlers from Yitzhar attacked the Asira village water project and its workers, once again. Israeli occupation forces who went to the scene did not to stop the settlers and instead occupied the roof of a Palestinian house located nearby.

On July 31st settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar attacked workers at the water reservoir project above the village of Asira. The Israeli army came to intervene and then in order to “check” invaded the house closest to the water project belonging to a family with small children. The army then stationed themselves on the roof of the water project for the remainder of the day.

The water reservoir project is aimed at providing residents from Asira with running water. Attacks on the project have been happening every day that there are workers present in the last months. Settlers trespass on to Asira village land and attack the workers often making “demonstrations” against the water project which will not affect the settlement in any way.

Asira al Qibliya, an ancient village with the current population of 3,500, and the other villages which surround the illegal settlement of Yitzhar face daily violence from its settlers.

In mid-1980s, the illegal settler colony of Yitzhar was established on the hilltop located around six Palestinian villages. Before the colony, the hilltop area was the locals’ breadbasket, thanks largely to its generous water resources. The nearby natural spring used to be Asira’s main source of water but the illegal settler colony, backed up by the Israeli government and the army, has completely blocked Palestinian access to the spring. Since then, villagers are forced to rely on water tanks; one such tank costs NIS 130 (US $36) in a place where unemployment is high; it is enough for a family for only a week. residents of Asira hope that when the project is completed, they will have access to water.

Residents of the illegal Israeli settler colony of Yitzhar are considered to be among the most violent in occupied Palestine; they physically attack Palestinian villagers (often children), set their land and property on fire, destroy houses, and cut or burn olive trees together with other vital sources of livelihood.