Select Committee on International Development Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Angie Zelter on behalf of IWPS-Palestine


  IWPS-Palestine has just completed its first full year in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This first year has seen the successful establishment of the Women's Peace House in Hares, Salfit. A continuous presence of women has been provided despite three women being denied entry by the Israeli authorities. The Team Members, supplemented by Volunteers, have provided a service for local villagers who call on the internationals to provide a witness and presence at roadblocks, checkpoints, and where Israeli Settlers or Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are engaged in human rights abuses. We have established a process for making consistent human rights reports on arrests, house demolitions and other violent incidents, which are sent on to human rights organizations. We have documented and provided a presence, at Palestinian nonviolent demonstrations and activities against the military occupation of Palestinian lands, including helping with the formation and development of the peace camps resisting the building of the Apartheid Wall. Numerous reports have been filed, photos taken, videos and presentations made. We have worked in co-operation with many different Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, committed to justice and peace, in an attempt to encourage creative networking. A website ( has been maintained where our work and reports are easily available to the public. As the siege against the Palestinians continues and villages are dispossessed of their land and water resources through the building of the Wall, Palestinians are becoming more desperate and our presence is becoming ever more necessary and appreciated.


  In the course of our work we take evidence and information from Palestinian villagers and townsfolk living in the Salfit Governorate, which is in the northwest part of the West Bank. It is a beautiful olive-growing area, one of the most fertile in all of Palestine, and consequently has the highest concentration of illegal Israeli settlements. The 22 villages of Salfit are now surrounded by 45 settlements, 17 actual colonies and 28 outposts. The ongoing colonisation process and the effect on people's daily lives has been documented in our many House Reports and also through video and power-point presentations. We have gathered together some of the material we have produced in the last year, as being of most relevance to the International Development Committee. For more information and to see the arrest and incident reports, and village profiles, reference can be made to our website where you will also find photographic illustrations.


  IWPS also submitted the following items. Copies of items 4 to 25 have been placed in the Library:

  1.  "A Glimpse into Salfit"—a 45-minute IWPS Power Point presentation on the effects of the Israeli Military Occupation on rural villagers in the Salfit region of Palestine based on the first hand experience of the women of IWPS.

  2.  "The Right to Education"—a 20-minute IWPS video—exploring the systematic denial of the right to education. The Israeli military occupation is shown disrupting the functioning of the Palestinian educational system by a variety of measures including curfews, checkpoints and roadblocks that prevent students along with teachers from reaching schools and universities, constant closures of universities, and the bombing and gassing of schools.

  3.  The Wall in Palestine—book of facts, testimonies, analysis and call to action and map of the location of the wall in the West Bank—produced by the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON).

  4.  Report No. 5—Excerpts of an interview with the President of the Land Defence Committee in Ramallah.

  5.  Report No. 7—Who is terrorising who?

  6.  Report No. 9—Land and water theft in Falame and Jayous.

  7.  Report No. 11—Palestinian Prayer for Justice.

  8.  Report No. 12—The Right to an Education.

  9.  Report No. 16—Whose Rights, whose Olives.

  10.  Report No. 17—Bombed out! For what reason?

  11.  Report No. 18—Today . . . you won!

  12.  Report No. 20—A thief locks his Door.

  13.  Report No. 21—Jayous Resists, but is it too Late?

  14.  Report No. 25—They cannot Wipe us Out.

  15.  Report No. 28—A War against Children.

  16.  Report No. 30—Poisoning Relations—the experience of one village surrounded by illegal settlements.

  17.  Report No. 31—A New Occupation.

  18.  Report No. 33—Beyond the Wall.

  19.  Report No. 34—Latest Land Theft is Killing us Slowly.

  20.  Report No. 35—Checkpoints in the West Bank: Lawlessness and Arbitrary Rule.

  21.  Report No. 36—The Village of Zawiya.

  22.  Report No. 39—The Plight of the Palestinian Political Prisoners.

  23.  Report No. 42—Jubara Students Defend Their Right to Education.

  24.  First Annual Report of IWPS-Palestine.

  25.  Useful statistics on settlements, deaths and injuries.

  26.  Urgent Action Required by the British Government.

  It is apparent from the material that we have provided to you that the underlying causes of the violence in Israel/Palestine are due to the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. There will be no peace in the region until the structural violence of the occupation is ended. There will be no peace in the area until basic human rights and international law are respected. We have been told by many Palestinians that what they need is international protection in order to be able to try to live normal lives. They point to many projects and aid that have been devastated by the Israeli military. They say: What is the point of providing money for hospitals and schools when they are taken over, occupied or destroyed by the Israeli military? What is the point of support for a sustainable agricultural college when the constant attacks by nearby Israeli settlers make it too dangerous to work there and it has to be abandoned? What is the point of providing a Red Cross food convoy in through the roadblocks when the next day not only is the roadblock put back (preventing the import and export of food stuffs) but also the village's local chicken farm is gassed and all the chickens killed? They ask that internationals be sent to protect any aid that is sent to them.

  The colonisation must stop and be reversed. The Israeli State must be persuaded by international action to leave the occupied territories and go back to their own Israeli State, leaving the Palestinian State to work out its own future. The role of the international community is to stop trading and providing financial and military help to the Israeli State and to instead provide support for the immediate creation of a Palestinian State and to provide the resources needed to support a large number of non-violent international peacemakers to intervene to stop human rights abuses.

September 2003

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