Life in the Occupied West Bank

Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Beit Ummar Israeli watchtower

Beit Ummar Israeli watchtower

Mousa Maria lives in Occupied Palestine, in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar, a town now surrounded by six illegal Israeli settlements.

The farmers go out to work their land with difficulty. They are beaten and shot by settlers and Israeli soldiers. Their olive trees are cut down, the land flooded with sewage from the illegal settlements. An apartheid wall is planned which will cut the farmers off from their land.

If land is left unused, the Israelis declare it abandoned and seize it. One project is to ask people in the West to finance the planting of trees, in order that the Israelis cannot claim land is abandoned.

The entrance to Beit Ummar is guarded by an Israeli watch tower. Periodically the town is sealed off by the Israelis. If the townsfolk attempt to leave, they will be gunned down by the Israelis.

Mousa Maria became an activist at the age of seventeen, when his college was occupied by Israelis and turned into a prison, an Israeli flag flown over the building. Mousa Maria and his friends, wanted their college back, wanted to continue their education. They decided on direct action, for which they paid a very heavy price. They decided to rip down the Israeli flag and replace it with a Palestinian flag. Two of his friends were gunned down and killed. He was arrested and thrown into prison for five years.

In prison began his education as an activist. He realised violence would not work. It would simply provoke even greater violence from the Israelis and it was what the Israelis wanted, as then the Palestinians could be portrayed as the violent aggressors, and the Israelis seekers of peace. No matter what the provocation, Palestinians have to learn to respond with non-violent direct action.

A second spell in prison, Administrative Detention (held without trial).

Children are arrested by Israelis and thrown in prison.

Training is being given for people to record what they see and upload to the net.

Western observers are needed to bear witness to Israeli atrocities.

The Palestinian Authority has no authority, the only authority is Israel.

Lawrence of Arabia and the Arabs were betrayed by the British and the French, who carved up the Middle East, replacing the Turks as the new colonial master. The Balfour Declaration granted the Jews the right to occupy part of Palestine, classic divide and rule. Israel is a terrorist state founded on terrorism. In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Jewish terrorists landed in Palestine, massacred Palestinians and British, drove the Palestinians out of their villages, invited other Jews to join them to occupy the land they had seized. T E Lawrence drew up his own map. Following his betrayal, we suffer the consequences today. Kurdistan would have been a state, as would Palestine. There would have been no Israel. There would have been no Palestinian problem. The countries we now see in the Middle East are artificial countries drawn up by the British and the French.

The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland:

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

The weapons used by the Israelis are supplied by the British and Americans.

There is no hope of action by the United Nations, the Arab countries or the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians are a non-people the rest of the world wish would go away.

It is for ordinary people to act, to boycott Israeli goods, to pressure their governments to introduce an arms embargo on Israel, an economic embargo, Israeli war criminals to be arrested and charged, their bank accounts frozen.

Mousa Maria is co-founder of Palestine Solidarity Project and Center Four Freedom and Justice. His talk at St Nicolas Church in Guildford comes towards the end of a three week speaking tour of the UK.

Following the meeting at St Nicolas Church, Zaytoun Palestinian olive oil was on sale.

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One Response to “Life in the Occupied West Bank”

  1. keithpp Says:

    How the United States supports Israel’s war crimes in Gaza
    http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/palestine-and-israel/2149-how-the-united-states-supports-israels-war-crimes-in-gaza

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