Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A drip, drip solution?

A British-run permaculture initiative in Bethlehem is trying to tackle the serious water shortages of Palestinians

By Seth Freedman
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday June 17 2008

"......For the Palestinians, however, the grass really is always greener on the other side of the separation wall. In the barren hills around Bethlehem, the earth lies arid and parched, and the sequestering of the Palestinians' water reserves by the Israeli authorities means that there's little chance of quenching the land's thirst......

While their cause is both novel and noble, it is – unfortunately – a drop in the ocean compared with the relentless expropriation of Palestinian water and land by the Israeli authorities. As I saw in Maaleh Adumim, the flagrant violations of the Geneva Convention mean that the Israeli boast of making the "desert bloom" rings by no means hollow – for the Jewish citizens at least – and has come true entirely at the expense of their beleaguered Palestinian neighbours.

Empowering individual farmers, as well as their communities at large, is definitely a step in the right direction if there is to be any kind of halt to the economic collapse that Palestinian society is experiencing. However, for there to be a true reversal of fortunes for the indigenous population, the only way out of the impasse is for the Israeli government to call time on the strangulation of the people under its control.

Merely paying lip service to the likes of Tony Blair and his grandiose plans for reviving the Palestinian economy by removing a few checkpoints is a shameful way to proceed, especially when people are suffering malnutrition in Gaza and seeing their livelihoods disappear in the West Bank.

Urgent action is needed to prevent large scale humanitarian crises among the Palestinian people; instead, the Israeli government prefers sabre-rattling in Gaza and relentless occupation and plunder in the West Bank. The Palestinians are no fools; they know full well who is responsible for their continuing plight, and it's little wonder that their anger and hate bubbles over periodically, when they are so persistently mistreated........"

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