On Friday Nov 2 a group of about 20 Birzeit University students and internationals arrived from Ramallah to join the community of Faquaa, a village just 10 minutes outside of Jenin, to hear about the water injustices they face directly as a result of the Israeli occupation. Israel controls virtually all their access to water. Beyond the “security” apartheid fence that encircles their village they can see the blossoming agriculture in the distance, (on the other side of the electric fence) which students were able to witness.
Abu Abed Salah gave a tour of the village and spoke about the severe water crisis and water-bourne diseases the community faces as a result of inadequate access to water. He spoke about the severe monetary fines imposed if they are caught digging any wells, charging 25,000 Dinars.
After the tour, playback theatre was performed to hear stories from the community to do with water apartheid and life under occupation. The first story was shared by an elder gentleman, Zediat, who spoke about his ongoing struggle to pick olives from his olive tree that is on his property. He is constantly harassed by soldiers who ask him for a permit even though the tree is on his land, but because it is near the security fence the soldiers always give him problems. He said he continues to go to his tree regardless of the intimidation.
Next, Ahmad shared about his frustration with minimal water access. He lives with three families that share the same source of water that is only replenished every 10 days. He explained about one occasion in the summer months when he had no water for three days and the impact it had on him and his family.
The Ride for Water Justice is supported by The Freedom Theatre, Thirsting for Justice Campaign, and Juzoor. Students from Birzeit University will be developing their media and advocacy skills while taking testimony from the villages they will visit. You can find more information on the Facebook event page. Another collection of photos can be seen here.
Join us next Friday (Nov 9th) in At-Tuwani!!