Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, September 28, 2007

On my birthday Israeli Settlers were throwing stones ...

RELEASE FROM THE CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAM (CPT): Settlers enter village in the South Hebron Hills, assault Palestinians

On September 23rd, shortly before sundown, ten Israeli settlers entered the village of Tuba in the South Hebron Hills. The settlers threw stones, hitting a woman and her adult son. Settlers remained in the village for about an hour. Israeli partners called police at 5:30pm to report the
incident. Police did not arrive in Tuba until 7:30pm after the settlers had already left.

Tuba, a village of about 75 people, has experienced on-going harassment by settlers from the nearby Israeli settlement of Ma'on, and illegal outpost Havat Ma'on. School aged children from Tuba are accompanied to school in nearby At-Tuwani by an Israeli military escort because of repeated attacks on the children by settlers. In April of this year, three girls were injured when settlers attacked the children on their way home from school and stole two of the children's book bags. Two weeks ago, the Israeli military demolished an outpost tent the settlers had built illegally on Tuba land. Local Palestinians report that settlers began rebuilding the structure almost immediately.

Loving Kurdistan to Death

I had the great fortune to travel around Kurdistan, Northern Iraq for most of August this year. I travelled to many of the beautiful spots of Sulimani, Erbil & Dohuk, the three northern most governorates of Iraq, populated and controlled by the Kurds. The mountains of the north are truely stunning once you get away from the ugly cities. But even the pristine natural areas of Kurdistan have been touched by poor and unsightly development. Below are some examples of the good, bad and the ugly of Kurdistans natural environments.

A river in Erbil Governorate

A spring fed stream in Dohuk Governorate

Electro-shocking fish in Alton Copri (Erbil Governorate)

Resort over-development at Jundiyan (Erbil)

A hodge-podge of water diversion pipes at Bechal Falls (Erbil)

Resort over development in, around and on top of Bechal Falls

In addition, the rivers of Kurdistan are, for the most part, overrun by gravel mines; the mountains have been denuded in the past (though there are occasional efforts at reforestation); hunting is extensive and appears to have eradicated many species; local zoos show mostly ill, stir-crazy, mis-identified animals in inhuman conditions; there are plans to dam the last wild section of river in Iraq (the Great Zap), which will have a major impact on the local water regime as well as the Mesopotamian marshlands in the south; trash around populated areas is a pervasive problem; all sewage goes into the rivers untreated for the most part; new oil development promises to spew new poisons into the environment; and the general lack of care for the environment, despite the encouraging existance of a few local environmental groups, is reflected in the lack of resources provided to the new Kurdistan Ministry of Environment.