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Apartheid Water

This is my water, says the Palestinian. “I’ll fix it”, says the Israeli army officer. He distances the Palestinian with one hand and the colonist with the other. I’ll fix it, he repeats. He is not hot-headed - he really wishes to fix it.

But I want to take my water, the Palestinian insists. He comes closer to the water hole. He reaches out for the rope and slowly raises the bucket. The water sounds good from here. Several drops fall on the rim of the well.

Let go of the bucket, orders the officer.

But I want to take my water, begs the Palestinian.

Son of a bitch, shut up! the colonist boy yells suddenly, and pushes his way into the scene.

Take the bucket down, the officer repeats. He thinks he might make peace. They stand over the water hole in the middle of a hot wind-swept, rocky plateau. The officer demands of the Palestinian to let go of the rope. The water has almost reached the Palestinian. He is forced to drop the rope and the bucket returns noisily to the depths of the well. This water is crucial for the Palestinian. He has a hard time letting go. He is gently pushed by the army uniform and is distanced from the scene. Luckily, he has met an enlightened officer. Without violence, the officer helps colonists take over the only source of water for the Palestinian.

This horrible scene took place this morning in the South Hebron Hills, near the village of At-Tuba. It is the new colonist trend, stealing the Palestinians’ water. In another video from the same area, a colonist is seen drawing water from a Palestinian water hole to let his flock drink. The Palestinian approaches him and says: I live here, this is my home. We too need water. And the whole time the colonist boys continue drawing buckets of water from the Palestinian’s well. Letting their sheep drink.

When we are thirsty, we drink water. We go to the faucet, or the fridge, or the cooler and simply drink water. We quench the physical sensation called thirst. When the Palestinian shepherd is thirsty, he walks to the nearest water hole, is there is such, and draws a bucket. Or waits for the water tanker which is supposed to arrive from the nearest large Palestinian community. The Palestinian shepherd and farmer have no faucet they can turn on. No pipe provides them with water. “You have a faucet” says the Palestinian to the colonist boy. The Palestinians are absolutely dependent on their water holes that store rain water, or water from the spring (which the colonists are hungrily taking over), or from tractor-drawn water tankers.

In the extreme heat of July-August, as if by a handed-down decree, the colonists and the army have joined forces to dehydrate the small Palestinian farm communities. This cruel method is only one of the tortures carried out by Israelis in the Occupied Territories. They dehydrate people, their flocks and their fields. This is, of course, a crime against humanity, but in the West Bank deserts there is no law, no morality, certainly no compassion.

At Khan el-Akhmar the army has placed a gate on the dirt track that leads from one desert to another. This track is used by a tractor carrying a water tanker to the shepherd community. When the gate is locked, the Palestinians receive no water. And the gate is locked by the whims of the soldiers. They lock it and leave, disappear, and only the hot wind blows in the ears of those waiting at the gate.

This morning, colonists attacked a water tanker drawn by a tractor. It was on its way to Humsa, in the northern part of the Palestinian Jordan Valley. The colonists turned on the tanker faucet and emptied the tanker upon the dry ground. Just like that – hundreds of water liters so necessary for life were simply poured out and lost. The villains waited until the last drop of water was absorbed in the sand, and left only then. This is pure, unadulterated cruelty of scoundrels under the aegis of the State of Israel.

Ein Sukkot, a natural spring with a dipping pool, was a rare recreation site for the poor rural Palestinians. They have no swimming pools or beach. The spring is located near Mehola colony. One day young Palestinians arrived as they are wont to do, and found it fenced it and locked behind a large gate. A watchtower was placed by the gate, and vulgar women-soldiers prevented them access to the spring of their childhood. Mehola colonists, of the regional council, or any other colonist institution, decided to claim this generous pearl of nature for themselves. The key is held by someone from Mehola. Only Jews come to the spring now. This is overt, extroverted, rude, criminal apartheid, and no one even wonders why, or sues anyone about this blatant theft.

Two days ago, a concrete mixer accompanied by the army arrived at the outskirts of Hebron. The mixer pointed itself towards a water hole that was used by the residents of the city’s southern suburb. The liquid concrete filled the hole, blocked and sealed it. No one will drink any more water here. This final action looks and sounds like a Mafia-style burial. But it was the official State of Israel that has carried it out, helped by Arab workers, so this sadistic act, too, is humiliating. The Na… would not have done a more perfect job. Burying a source of life, a future. A very clear declaration of Israeli intent.

All occupation means are ‘kosher’ on the way to annex the West Bank to the Jewish State. And we begin by dehydrating Palestinians.

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