Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, March 03, 2006

Environmental Action in Hebron

My buddies in Hebron in the West Bank just sent out this update of their environmental clean up in the Tel Rumeida area of town where Jewish Settler families live above Palestinian neighbors. When I was there in 2004, I saw that in some areas in and around the old city of Hebron where the Settlers live literally on top of Palestinians homes and shops, they throw their garbage down upon the Palestinians. In a few places the Palestinians have hung up fencing to catch the garbage so that it doesn't rain down on their heads. When I first saw this I was shocked that people could do such a thing to one another, not out of ignorance or stupidity ... but simply out of spite. Last summer, taking this same spirit even further, Settlers in the southern Hebron hills spread poison grain upon the hills where Palestinian graze their flocks ... as if they were spreading poison to rid themselves of vermin. A number of sheep and wild animals died and the health of the Palestinains were threatened as a result.

As someone interested in humanitarian issues, I see this as a human rights crime. As an environmentalist, I see it as an act of environmental terrorism. As a person, it saddens me that Isreal refuses to address these issues, and by it's refusal, gives its approval for such acts to continue.

CPTHebronNews 2006-03-03: Tel Rumeida's Cycle of Trash

March 3, 2006 - By Jerry Levin

The urgent letter from the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee asking for help complained that among other acts of insolence and worse the "seven Jewish families settling in Tel Rumeida" have been throwing their garbage into nearby Palestinian yards for years.

So at mid morning March 1, CPTers Tracy Hughes, Bourke Kennedy, Billy Baldwin, and Jerry Levin along with some local volunteers headed for a Palestinian home which sits helpless at the bottom of a forty foot high bluff. At the top are Tel Rumeida settlement caravan homes. For many years its inhabitants have been pushing and dropping all kinds of debris over the side and down on their frustrated neighbors.

However, before it arrived, the group was overtaken by an Israeli army patrol. The patrol leader, not liking Levin taking pictures of his men, shouted as they approached, "No. No."

When Levin asked "No, what?" the patrol leader pointing at the camera and started toward him saying "Give. Give."

"Give? Give? You know I can take pictures of you and your men and don't have to give you my camera or my pictures," Levin replied.

So, the patrol leader changed his demand. "Give me your number. Give me your number."

"Give me your number?" Levin again asked. "What does that mean?" sure, however, that the soldier meant Levin should surrender his passport.

"Never mind," the soldier snarled, "I will remember you." Then he and his soldiers moved on.

Later the patrol appeared on the bluff overlooking the yard where the trash removal was taking place. They watched during the entire dusty, dirty, damp two hour process. The area from which the trash was removed was once a grape arbor about fifteen feet wide by fifty feet long. It was so covered with trash after several years of littering that one could hardly see the ground or the sides of the bluff. About fifteen large approximately 40 gallon or so gallon yard bags were filled with small trash: soggy paper, garbage, small sand bags, wire, pieces of scrap wood, bottles, soiled diapers, etc. Larger items such
as pieces of broken toilet, a four foot length of plastic pipe, several pieces of heavy screening of various dimensions, coils of rusted and newer razor wire, and large planking, often almost completely buried in damp dirt had to be pulled out one item at a time.

At one point, Levin took pictures of the soldiers peering down from the top of the bluff. Again one soldier waved at him shouting, "No. No." Levin waved back.

The CPTers snapped before and after pictures, as did the Palestinians. But, after thanking the CPTers, one of the HRC organizers suggested someone from the team return with a camera the next day.

"Why," he was asked.

"You shall see," he said wearily.

The next morning, Levin returned with his camera to the scene of the clean up. There he found a few bits of new debris – clearly thrown down from above - already despoiling the area.


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