With imposing hill top settlements and smaller obnoxiously placed
outposts, the Jewish settlements in the West Bank vary from massive
established towns, (such as Maale Adumin with
a population of 30,000 of mostly poor settlers lured by state incentives)
to rural settlements consisting more of fundamentalist settlers
intent on terrorising their Palestinian neighbours. A huge amount
of construction work is visibly expanding the settlements beyond
what Sharon defends as natural expansion, and building
roads cutting off sections of Palestinian land where it can be stolen
to join settlements together and disrupt Palestinian life.
The settlers of Itamar and its outposts harassed the 100 villagers
of Yanoun, near Nablus, so much that when settlers murdered a 24
year old harvesting olives the villagers packed their bags and left,
only to return later when internationals offered to live with them.
Staying in the international house I was struck by the peace of
the magnificent landscape, but where outposts dotted the hills above,
keeping constant watch and shining a huge search light all night
on Yanoun below. The Itamar website calls for donations to fund
night surveillance equipment and armoured cars, whilst the village
lives in its shadow.
Visiting Hebron, where over 120,000 Palestinians live alongside
500 Israeli settlers protected by 1200 soldiers, is like visiting
a ghost town. Its market of 500 shops was closed on military order
after a settler fired a machine gun in the Ibrihimi mosque, killing
29. I saw few amongst the bullet holed and settler graffitied shop
fronts open, and met a shopkeeper who told me of the collapse of
the Hebron economy. He pointed out the settlers who have moved in
to houses overlooking the narrow lanes of the market, who chuck
out so much litter onto the Palestinians below that the army has
built mesh above the streets to protect them. As we passed under
the mesh I noticed it was dented from the impact of great lumps
of concrete thrown down, along with fibreglass roof insulation,
bricks and plastic bottles. An English activist living in Hebron
took me to his home, the only building on the street leading from
the market to a settlement that has not been seized by the army.
Closely observed by a soldier visible only by the butt of his rifle
rustling under combat netting from the house opposite, I was told
about his work accompanying children to school after they were attacked
by settlers with sticks and chains. More recently the Israeli army
have not allowed him to accompany the children, preferring to do
the job themselves, leading me to wonder how a Palestinian parent
might feel handing their child over to an Israeli soldier for protection.
One Israeli soldier I spoke to told me that he was unhappy having
to protect a Gaza settlement on his reserve duty. Along with most
Israelis, he doesnt agree with the settlers. He talked about
the fear he felt being in the front line of possible terrorist
attacks, and how this is the only context in which he met Palestinians.
I spoke to many people who recounted stories from older generations
where relations between Palestinians and Israelis were possible.
Today, however, the potential for dialogue is impeded by total separation.
For many Palestinians the only Israelis they meet are soldiers or
settlers and for Israelis the only Palestinians they hear about
are the suicide bombers. One Israeli man I spoke to told me that
before the 2nd Intifada he had Palestinian colleagues at his work
in Tel Aviv, but now they are not allowed into Israel to work and,
in any case, all Palestinians are terrorists and animals.
Offering An Olive Branch
On the last day of the year I found myself with Israeli and international
activists on a tree planting demonstration where land has been confiscated
and olive trees uprooted from the villagers of Jayyous under the
guise of enlarging an existing settlement. I wondered what had happened
to the olive trees that the villagers had tended for decades and
that their economy relies on. An Israeli told me that they are sold
to rich yuppie house-owners, and then I remembered the newly planted
but very old olive trees I had seen amidst floral displays decorating
a settlement I had driven through the day before. The action felt
eerie, having to walk for almost 2 hours in the midday heat, as
the army decided our route was closed, through the deserted countryside
on a symbolic action with no one to read our placards and the media
The fence built to separate Jayyous from its land is part of the
current plan to build the wall and other obstructions to restrict
movement and to separate and isolate Palestinians from each other
and from Israeli settlements. As one international put it If
you wanted to put up a fence between your garden and your neighbours
you would have to put it on your side, right? Apparently the state
of Israel thinks differently; as in most of the West Bank, the so
called security barrier is being built well within the
1967 Green Line, so that yet more Palestinian land is confiscated
and effectively annexed to Israel.
See also - www.alternativenews.org
OF THE WEEK
For playing football...
While western footballers get paid millions and have affairs with
women who masturbate pigs, children as young as six in Hebron are
treated slightly differently. After one child was spotted throwing
a stone at another during a game of football in a deserted street
all eight of them were promptly arrested by Israeli soldiers.
G8way to Hell
Our great leader, Tory Bliar, promised personal prosperity
for all this week if he wins the next election. But as we
all know, hes full of shit. So what to do? You could wait
a couple of years, realise youre still skint and then think
about getting back at him. Or you could do something now...How about
embarrassing him in front of all his friends? As the G8 travelling
circus is coming to Britain this year, Bliar will be trying to put
on a show of how happy everyone in Britain is and how everyone loves
him. Lets show em!
The luxury golfing complex is used to hosting conferences for these
types, having (allegedly) hosted the Bilderberg conference in 1986
(SchNEWS 406). The cops are trying to
keep the locals sweet by giving them free photos. Only thing
is that the photos come in the form of an ID card that they
all, including children as young as 8, have to carry for the duration
of the summit. Some ungrateful people havent been won over
by this generous gesture though and have started to organise protests
against the summit.
So, how can you get involved? There are regular local meetings
happening around the country. If there arent any near you,
why not organise one? Dissent! is a network of local groups who
want to oppose the G8 but dont want to tow another party line
either. The next national Dissent! meeting is in Glasgow on the
12th and 13th of February. See www.dissent.org.uk
for more info on the national meeting and also for details of local
Trail Of Destruction
The Tsunami may have been unavoidable, but the scale of the loss
was worsened by economic policies which place short term financial
gain over long term sustainability (Surely not? Ed.). Not sending
out warnings fast enough so the tourist industry could get another
precious half-hour of business - with dire consequences - is one
thing, but another is the stripping away of the natural protective
barrier which has stood up to these natural events in the past.
Since the sixties the vast majority of mangrove swamps which line
the coasts around the Indian Ocean have been systematically destroyed
and replaced by shrimp farms and tourist resorts, taking away the
main natural protection from the ravages of the sea. We know from
the recent disaster that areas with dense mangroves in southern
India suffered far less casualties and damage than coastlines which
As another example we can contrast a tidal surge caused by a cyclone
in Bangladesh in 1960 - with no loss of human life - back in the
days before the mangroves were replaced by shrimp farms. When a
similar wave struck in 1991 thousands were killed. Mangroves act
as a barrier because their roots systems bind the sea floor together,
the flexible branches and tangled aerial roots absorb much of the
seas impact and the tall stems act like a wall protecting
Its rather ironic that the vegetation was removed for economic
reasons - ie so a quick buck could be made with shrimp farms, five-star
hotels, golf courses and the like seeing as the cost of the
massive destruction caused by the tsunami outweighs the profit from
these industries several times over (Capitalist in short-term, unsustainable
money making shocker? Again?!). The fact that mangroves are one
of the worlds most threatened habitats and help prevent
climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide in the water - or that
populations have been forcibly removed during this process doesnt
come into the equation.
Shrimp farming has been called a rape-and-run industry
by the UNs Food and Agricultural Organisation. The life cycle
of the farms are short - 2-5 years - after which ponds are abandoned
leaving behind toxic waste, destroyed habitat and displaced communities.
Then it moves onto another bit of pristine coastline. The World
Bank are the people kind enough to stump up the cash for this enterprise.
The WBs sentiment was summed up nicely when an Indian TV
newsreader asked an honest question of his correspondent reporting
from the scene of destruction in Tamil Nadu in south of India: Any
idea about how much is the loss to business? Can you find that out
because that would be more important for our business leaders?
* Read Devinder Sharmas article at www.indiatogether.org/2005/jan/dsh-tsunami.htm
Bridge Too Far
A blockade is going into its seventh week on a metal pedestrian
bridge over the Panamerican Highway 130kms northwest of Guatemala
City to stop mining equipment getting through to the Glamis Gold
Marlin mine near San Marcos, Guatemala. One protester has already
been murdered and seven injured after attacks by the police and
It started when the mining equipment convoy first got to the bridge
and found they were up against several thousand indigenous farmers
and villagers intent on stopping part of it being dismantled to
get large drilling equipment past it. Then when one of the mining
vehicles was set alight the convoy retreated 2km to a lookout point
parking area, where it has been stuck ever since, protected by private
police from the rampaging villagers. The local mayor is on the side
of the protesters, but already the Guatemalan Interior Ministry
have sent in troops and police to try to escort the convoy to the
mine. The protesters are now threatening to push the mining equipment
over a cliff where it is parked - and good luck to them!
The company Glamis have been lent $45million to develop the mine
by the International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank)
without conducting the obligatory consultation of the local indigenous
communities, or complying with the World Banks own recommendations
regarding negotiations with those affeced by the project (since
when has that stopped a World Bank project?)
Glamis are a mining company who have left a trail of indigenous
peoples rights violations, contaminated water and pollution
across north America, and are currently using NAFTA laws to file
for $50 million compensation because of actions taken by the State
of California who had the audacity to protect its environmental
and indigenous communities from the impact of their open cast mining.
for more information.
SchNEWS in brief
- Brightons premier pirate station Radio 4A on the
airwaves this weekend 101.4 FM across Brighton www.radio4a.org.uk
for info and streams.
- Demonstrate against plans to build an incinerator in Newhaven
next Thursday (20th) Hove Town Hall 4pm.
- Talk on how aggregate dredging destroys the sea environment
next Thursday (20th) at The Cowley Club, 12 London Rd 6pm
- Resist the G8 South-East Assembly next Saturday (22nd)
Room 3D, University of London Union, Malet Street 2-6pm email@example.com
- Theres a Tsunami benefit next Thursday (20th)
with money raised going to grassroots community groups working
with people to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. Music includes
Asian Dub Foundation soundsystem, Indian dohl drumming,
Samba, a Bollywood Brass band (!), Transglobal Undergrounds
Mantu DJing, a klezmer band etc Its at Bar Lorca, 261 Brixton
Road SW9 £7/£5 Concs advance tickets www.stargreen.com
- Block the Builders Training Weekend 22-23rd for all those
who want to prepare for nonviolent direct action against the construction
of facilities to build new nuclear weapons at AWE Aldermaston
07969 739812 www.blockthebuilders.org.uk
- Next Saturday (22nd) The Future of Food: An afternoon
to Discuss Organic, Local & Tasty Food on a Tasty Planet!
Speakers include Vandana Shiva, Jerry Mander, Director of the
International Forum on Globalisation and Tim Lang, Professor of
Food Policy at City University. Tickets are pricey - details 0208
809 2391 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Demonstration outside Downing Street next Thursday (20th) No
to illegal internment - Release the Belmarsh detainees 6-8pm
020 7586 5892 www.stoppoliticalterror.com
When the eight year old first wrote she said when she grew up she
wanted to become an engineer so she could make an atomic bomb to
kill all the Jews. The Israeli kids were angry, they wanted another
pen pal, not this one who was a terrorist who wanted
to kill them. One of the workers then asked the Israeli kids why
they reckoned she felt like that, and in another letter the girl
said that her life was hard but she didnt mean she wanted
her pen pals to be killed.
Windows for Communication is a joint Israeli-Palestinian project
based in Tel Aviv and the West Bank which aims to get young people
on both sides to talk too each other. The kids work together to
produce a magazine in Arabic and Hebrew that seeks to breakdown
stereotypes. Israeli and Palestinian children also create artwork
together which is displayed in exhibitions in schools, youth clubs
and other places, and some of them meet up in summer camp in and
outside the region, where deeper friendships develop. For most,
this is the only means of communication youngsters will get with
each from either side of the divide.
Call 0207 5035247 or check out www.win-peace.org
for more information.
While Bush plans to splash $50 million on his President inauguration
ceremony, the people who didnt actually vote for the Iraqi
child killing environmental destroying lunatic are getting together
to voice their opposition - by doing nothing. Theres
no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or right wing agenda
to rant about. On Not One Damn Dime Day you take action
by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.
After the last two fiasco elections, which were about as democratic
as Guantanamo Bay, the huge amount of opposition to the Fourth Reich
have been mostly side stepped by the worlds media. This is
all about to change. On January 20th Inauguration Day, the people
of America have called for a General Strike and a 24 shut down of
the US economy with a day of non-participation in Americas
corporate hell. They are asking people not to go to work, buy petrol,
food, pay bills or basically anything that puts money into the war
SchNEWS warns all readers those in Gaza houses should throw
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