Select Committee on International Development Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Dorothy Stein


I.   Environment and infrastructure

  Since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, Israeli policy has encouraged the building of settlements on the West Bank and Gaza, occupied exclusively by Jewish Israelis. This has involved and extended the Israeli practice of confiscating Palestinian land and water resources, uprooting large numbers of fruit and olive trees, polluting fields with raw sewerage and harassing and threatening Arab peasants who attempt to care for their crops. In other words, it is Israeli policy to undermine Palestinian agricultural development.

  The network of roads built between settlements and between settlements and Israel proper is reserved for Jewish settlers only. The roads and trails on which the Palestinians must travel are in much poorer condition. The mobility of Palestinians is obstructed or prevented by curfews, roadblocks and innumerable checkpoints through which vehicles are often completely prohibited to pass, and people themselves may pass only sporadically and often after lengthy waiting. This hampers not only business and commercial life, but schooling, shopping, medical care and social life as well.

  Both water and electricity must be purchased, often at elevated prices and at the will of the Israeli distributors.

II.   Economic development

  As in the case of agriculture, it is the set policy of the Israeli government to raid, loot and destroy many homes, shops, businesses, offices, workshops and universities. Because of curfews, even primary education has often been disrupted. A number of businessmen who returned to Palestine and invested their savings and skills in setting up businesses, communication networks and factories in the euphoria generated by the Oslo agreement have lost their investments. The traditional hospitality, tourist and pilgrimage industries have also collapsed in the atmosphere of conflict and violence that has accompanied the new incursions (since September, 2000). Trade, such as that in olive oil, has also collapsed in the difficulty of transport.

III.   Conclusions

  In the face of such determined and powerful forces that seek to make not only development but life itself insupportable for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, it appears that hardly any efforts, no matter how well-meaning, on the part of foreign governments and NGOs to aid development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories can be successful unless accompanied by sufficient political pressure to end the occupation itself. The only alternative to wasted efforts and resources will remain in humanitarian medical, financial and nutritional aid, a fallback at best.

  The conditions and issues obtaining in the Palestinian Occupied territories have changed so drastically in the past two years and will no doubt continue to change before and during the autumn inquiry, up to and even after the completion of the committee's report (late in 2003, as I understand it). Therefore any numbers and statistics in the following memorandum will certainly be out of date if they are not already. Nevertheless, the trends over the period with which I am familiar have been so relentlessly monotonic that I have little doubt the committee will find that conditions have worsened when they come to their deliberations, especially if they consider "facts on the ground" rather than rhetoric. In what follows, therefore, I will try to omit many statistics which are easily obtainable from other sources. On the other hand, I will sometimes relay comments and assertions made to me by acquaintances I made during my travels in Palestine and Israel.

  I am not an economist or a development expert, and bring to this memorandum only experiences in the occupied territories themselves, supplemented by articles and diary entries received from other "Internationals", and some background published material. In the autumn of 2001 and again in 2002, I spent some time traveling through the territories, and (in the latter period) living in the homes of Palestinians, assisting with the olive harvest in a string of villages on the West Bank. On both occasions I was under the auspices of the International Solidarity Movement. My experiences gave me the opportunity both to compare the change in circumstances in the intervening year, often in the same locations, and, during the latter trip, to observe several aspects of village life and olive oil production, processing and storage.

  On both occasions the international group to which I was affiliated was deployed to demonstrate support for the Palestinian people, to bear witness to the difficulties and restraints under which they were forced to conduct their everyday affairs, to assist them if possible, and, by our presence, presumed connections with the international media, and the non violent philosophy and methods in which we had been trained, to reduce the levels of violence engaged in by the Israeli army, the "Border Police", and the inhabitants of the illegal settlements.

  Settlements, all of which are actually illegal, are Jewish colonies built on confiscated Palestinian land, close to and ever encroaching upon their remaining property. The settlements in the West Bank are usually located on the tops of the hills.[1] Despite foreign pressures they are ever expanding, both in size and numbers, and behave as spearheads in driving out the indigenous farmers and laying claim to their lands. The settlers are heavily armed, and do not really differ from the official forces: settlers do army service along with most of the rest of Jewish Israelis. Some are and some are not religious fundamentalists.

  There are many aspects and facets to overall Israeli strategy which impact on the potential for development of the Occupied Territories (West Bank and Gaza [WBG]). They include harassment and intimidation, deprivation of education for the young thanks to curfews and vandalism of educational institutions, brutal treatment and humiliation of both sexes and all ages, including those in dire need of medical attention, obstruction and prevention of travel both for everyday (including medical) and for commercial and long term economic purposes, arbitrary curfews and arrests, the demolition of many homes and workshops, either for collective punishment or for Israeli convenience in the appropriation of Palestinian land and resources. Also common are manslaughter and "targeted assassinations", in which bystanders, including children, often constitute collateral damage. In the famous words of Moshe Dayan, "You will live like dogs; you may leave if you wish."

I.   Context of proposed development

  Any discussion of development aid must begin with a consideration of the environment and infrastructure. Because of the limitations of space, I shall touch only on a few of the environmental aspects where the Israeli occupation has had, and continues to have, such a devastating effect on the West Bank and Gaza. They are: trees, water, pollution and population.

1.  Trees

  One notable aspect of Israeli strategy has been the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of trees, often justified as denying cover to "terrorists". The deforestation wrought by the current occupiers was actually begun by the preceding colonial administrations; forests which were cut down during the Ottoman period for railways were never replaced. At present, Palestinians have been engaged in a struggle to keep their traditional family owned olive and fruit groves; they must get permission from the occupiers to plant even a single tree, and an olive tree takes as long as 30 years to reach maturity. By 1994, 154,000 fruit trees had been uprooted on Palestinian lands (the number as of summer 2003 is up to some 800,000). Moreover, Israeli restrictions on land use have caused overgrazing and overuse of land, leading to desertification and soil degradation. Crop yields are down and inferior to irrigated Israeli crops, and constant harassment by settlers means that farmers are prevented from cultivating and improving the soil after harvest, again leading to inferior harvests, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

  In addition to olive trees, numerous other fruit bearing trees, including fig and citrus have been uprooted and the land confiscated. This has been done in connection with building a network of roads for the settlers' use. More recently, in the most audacious takeover and destruction to date, a concrete wall is being built, entirely on the Palestinian side of the "green line", and three times as long as the latter, trapping tens of thousands of villagers between the wall and the Israeli border, unable for the most part, despite Israeli assurances, to reach their land on the other side of the wall. The most fertile part of the West Bank is threatened with confiscation or destruction. For example: Number of olive trees that the Mayor of Jayyous, used to own: 960; Age of the oldest trees among them, in years: 500; Number of trees left standing after the construction of the wall: 50.[2]

2.  Water

  Water, like land, is an almost inelastic resource, and is becoming scarcer in many parts of the world. This is certainly true of Palestine. In addition to the other advantages of height in visually and physically dominating the countryside, the locations of the settlements astride the important aquifers mean that Israel controls the important sources of water on the West Bank, and its distribution. Recently, Palestinians have been forbidden even to dig wells, while many settlements sport swimming pools.

  In Gaza as well as the West Bank, Palestinians are being gradually deprived of access to water and to sewage treatment. Of the West Bank and Gaza Strip's 991 million cubic metres of renewable water resources, 741 million cubic metres are under the control of Mekorot, the Israeli water company, and channelled for the sole use of Israeli settlers and citizens. In fact, "the total renewable water resource in Palestine (ie Gaza, the West Bank and Israel) is estimated at nearly 2,000 MCM per year. Out of this amount, Palestinians living in West Bank and Gaza Strip are permitted only 250 MCM of water."[3] In other words, 88% of the water resources are allocated, by Israel, to six million Israelis, while only 12% are allocated to the 3.3 million besieged Palestinians. Israeli citizens consume four times as much water per capita as Palestinians, while Israeli settlers consume six times more water per capita than the Palestinians, who get 50 cubic metres to the Israelis 1,450.

  Although in the urban centers of the Occupied Territories, almost 100% of houses have piped water, water cutoffs are frequent, especially in summer. In rural areas, 42% of houses don't have piped water. Women must walk long distances to springs and wells, which are often polluted.[4] Even after collection, the water storage tanks are frequently shot and the water wasted. This deliberate wastage of the water supplies is an ongoing practice that often accompanies invasions, raids and searches of Palestinian homes. Recent reports from ISM activists attest to the intentional shooting of rooftop storage tanks by the Israeli army even when no other forms of "collective punishment" are applied.

3.  Water Pollution

  Water supplies are often deliberately or negligently polluted with sewerage. Despite a "Road Map"—related pretence of removing several settlement outposts (slightly fewer than the number that promptly replaced them), the settlements continue to expand relentlessly, both in size and numbers, and behave as a spearhead in driving out the indigenous farmers and laying claim to their lands. As part of the strategy, settlers often let gravity take care of their garbage and sewage, which they pour down the hills to cover and pollute the Palestinians' fields below.

  One day while I was on the West Bank, one of the villagers where we were staying mentioned that a nature reserve lying in the hills to the west of the village had been polluted with sewerage, and urged us to investigate, which we agreed to do. We were driven up the agricultural trail to the entrance to the reserve, and proceeded from there on foot. Right near the entrance, the road did indeed lie under a stagnant pool that seemed to have proceeded from a pumping station that had become inoperative. The pool joined the small stream that flowed down the valley, polluting it too. Piles of toilet paper and other soiled papers lay about the station itself.

  Picking our way across the flooded road we proceeded farther into the reserve, until an Israeli APC coming in the opposite direction pulled up and the driver demanded to know what we are doing. We explained that we had been told of the beauty of the reserve and had come to see it ourselves. We asked how the beauty had come to be spoiled by the raw sewerage around the defunct pumping station and were told it was waste from a nearby Arab village. Arab villages, however, do not use the paper goods that made up a prominent part of the waste. Still farther into the reserve, we found ourselves in the midst of groves of lemon and orange trees whose owners were busy picking fruit. Their groves, too were threatened, they told us.

  From this experience we realised what a potent weapon of mass land appropriation sewerage could be. Deliberate interruption and contamination of scarce Palestinian water resources by the Israeli army and its contracted builders has frequently been reported. Karen Assaf, even before 1994, claimed: "Israeli soldiers often deliberately contaminate water storage tanks with urine and faeces. Only 39% of houses in Gaza are connected to a sewerage system. Untreated sewage is dumped into the sea and open channels run through the streets. In the West Bank, 50-60% of sewage is collected in pipes and then flows out in channels. Treatment facilities have been neglected and often work inefficiently or not at all." [4, p 170]

  The situation since has, if anything, worsened. Much of the water supply is deliberately contaminated by destruction of sewers, water pipes and storage tanks. B'Tselem, the Israeli Human Rights group, reported in October 2001 that "In every city and refugee camp that they have entered, IDF [Israeli Defence Force] soldiers have repeated the same pattern: indiscriminate firing and the killing of innocent civilians, and intentional harm to water . . ." ( The inevitable result, outbreaks of hepatitis in the villages, was reported by ISM in 2002.

  On 14 March 2003, an email from ISM announced that: "In a new twist to its campaign to `encourage transfer' of Palestinian communities from land earmarked for Jewish settlers, the Israeli army of occupation based at Salem military base, on the border of Israel and the occupied West Bank, has built a sewerage line so that the base's refuse drains directly into the main street of a Palestinian village. The Palestinian community of Zabuba (population 2000), which lies to the east of Salem Base, has the unfortunate distinction of being the subject this Israeli campaign of germ warfare, which is expected to result in an outbreak of diseases such as cholera unless the people evacuate the area. Sewerage from the Salem army base is piped into an open sewer which begins half way between the base and Zabuba and channels the refuse down the main street which runs through the centre of the village, turning it into an foul smelling river of filth." The military authorities refused to allow the villagers to divert the course of the sewer.

4.  Toxic Chemicals

  Another sort of manmade environmental hazard is caused by the use of chemicals, both in agriculture and as weapons. Ironically, sometimes the former are actually introduced by the Palestinians themselves. Israel sells 700 kinds of agricultural preparations, some of which are against the law in the US and Europe, or are monitored carefully in use. Not in the WBG. Pesticides are used freely by Palestinian farmers without restriction or control; instructions for use are seldom in Arabic. (But Palestinian crops can't be sold in Israel.) There is no regular testing, but spot checks show 37% have excessively high pesticide residues. Women get higher dosages on skin and hands from picking and processing or cleaning then crops, and from handling and laundering clothing.[4, p 173]

  Tear gas, which is used extremely freely by both the Israeli army and settlers, including occasions without threat, demonstration or large assemblage, is a sort of chemical weapon in itself. I myself was teargassed while simply shopping on a village street. Children, who are sometimes forced to walk through clouds of tear gas to get to school, are especially vulnerable and have sometimes had to be hospitalised. Tear gas has also accounted for at least one child death. It is increasingly used in a manner advised against even by the instructions on the canister; for example, tear gas has been thrown into confined indoor spaces, such as classrooms.

5.  Electricity

  The electrical grid of the West Bank and Gaza is completely controlled by Israel, from whom the Palestinians must purchase their power. The villages and towns of the occupied territories are charged 30% more for their electricity than are Israelis within Israel or in settlements.[5] That is, when they can get it. One of the villages in which I stayed in 2002 was Yasuf, which was not on the electrical grid at all. Although the village had been given an EU grant to connect it to the grid, and had completed all the necessary paper work, the Israelis had refused to permit it. The village generator could be operated for only a few hours each evening because of the high price of fuel (which was also, of course, purchased from Israel).

6.  Roads and transport

  Thanks to the numerous checkpoints and the roadblocks, consisting of piles of rubble and/or large concrete blocks, set up at the entrances and exits of almost all Palestinian cities, towns and villages, Palestinians are forced to travel, when they are able to travel at all, on a series of roundabout, badly maintained roads, often no more than mountain trails, frequently having to walk and carry baggage between a series of taxis. The alternative is waiting sometimes hours at checkpoints, in sickness or health, often to be turned back altogether. Obviously, transport of all manner of goods is affected by this system. Because of the roadblocks, food delivery to villages must often be accomplished by the "back to back" method, in which the delivering lorry backs up to the roadblock, and the village lorry backs up to the other side. The food or other goods are then lifted manually across the road block (or blocks—sometimes two parallel blocks are laid across the road at some distance apart).

  By contrast, a network of excellent, well maintained roads connecting the settlements with each other and with Israel proper have been constructed on land forcibly confiscated without compensation from the Palestinian owners. No Palestinians or vehicles with Palestinian licence plates are permitted on these roads.[1]

  At an international summer school in Wales, in which I participated in June, 2003, although equipped with the same invitations as their Israeli counterparts, the delegation from Palestine had had to walk over the mountain trails, mostly in the dark, for four days before reaching the Jordanian border, where they were several times turned back.

7.  Population

  Population is usually considered a sensitive subject, but Israeli politicians, journalists, and members of the Israeli public with whom I have spoken are fixated by the "demographic race", a perceived competition between Israelis and Palestinians (both those who are Israeli citizens and inhabitants of the Occupied Territories) in which the Israeli government scrambles to encourage the maximum amount of Jewish immigration (some of it of dubious origin, even by their own standards). The one million Arab citizens of Israel already comprise a fifth of the total population, and their numbers are expected to rise steeply in the next few decades. Government ministers, such as Eli Yishai of the ultra Orthodox Shas Party and others, including the prime minister, "were said to be deeply troubled by the demographic threat such a development would pose to the "Jewish character" of the state. Various ministries have been investigating ways either to limit the growth of the Arab population or raise the birth rates of Jewish women. Last year, for example, the Welfare and Labour Ministry reconvened the Demography Council, disbanded six years ago after its work was described as racist. The council of lawyers, educators and gynecologists is charged with devising ways to increase the fertility of Jews as a way to preserve their ethnic dominance of the state."[6] Preserving the "Jewish character" of the state (which is, however, supposedly secular) is a rationale, next only to "security" for explaining all discriminatory actions of the Israeli government, and one with which all non-Israelis are expected to concur.

  During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, about three quarters of the non-Jewish inhabitants of what is now Israel were terrified into fleeing their homes. By natural increase since then, remaining 200 000 have become one million, still constituting about one fifth of Israeli citizens, and subject to a variety of discriminatory conditions. During the 1967 war, and since, the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, including the residents of camps housing many of the 1948 refugees, has similarly expanded, and now number over three million. Polls indicate that about 40% of Israelis would favour the "transfer" or ethnic cleansing of the entire Palestinian population, including those that are Israeli citizens. Unsurprisingly, the Israeli government and the overwhelming majority of the people are as adamantly against the right of return of refugees and their descendents to their former homes, as they are enthusiastic about "Jewish" immigration.

  Unfortunately, Palestinians, too, have begun to consider their high birth rates as a kind of weapon against Israeli attempts to force a mass expulsion of the Arab population (including the Christians and other minority religions). The almost total prohibition against housebuilding, has led to overcrowding which in turn places pressure on families to marry off daughters while young—often too young to have finished their education. Early marriage, in turn, means that women begin their reproductive careers at a relatively unsafe age, as well as increasing total family sizes. The average number of children per family is over six in the West Bank and seven in Gaza, where the distance between births is less than two years in 80% of cases. Both politics and conservative attitudes contribute to keeping reproductive decisions largely out of the hands of the women involved, and seldom discussed. All these factors contribute to the high rates of anaemia and other frequent health problems in Palestinian women and children.[7]

II.   Economic development

  Poverty is rife among the inhabitants of the occupied territories. By last winter, 75% of Palestinians were living on less than $2 per day. 350,000 had lost jobs. Of a work force of 800,000, 200,000 are still out of work, and $1 billion pounds of wages have been lost. Gaza is considerably poorer than the West Bank. [5]

1.  Olives, olive oil and other olive products

  On my second visit, it was possible to choose to help villagers pick olives in their family owned groves. By overall Palestinian standards, the area to which we were sent to help harvest olives was a relatively wealthy one. (Indeed, the poorest house I lived in belonged to a man who had returned from a high-paying job in Kuwait in the aftermath of the first Gulf War.) In the olive groves of the West Bank, among the families we met were a number of highly trained teachers, doctors, scientists and other professionals, all now out of work. According to what we had been told, families in this situation fell back on their holdings of olive trees, relying on the oil produced as a source of income.

  The reality turned out to be somewhat different. We learned that the olive oil trade, both internal and external, had collapsed about two years previously. The internal trade, that is, the sales of olive oil produced in the northern part of the West Bank to the southern region had foundered on the near-impossibility of travel, thanks to hundreds of checkpoints, where Palestinian vehicles could be held for hours or capriciously turned back on the whim of whatever young soldier happened to be on duty. The external trade had traditionally been through Jordan and into Saudi Arabia, and as far as I could learn had always been on a family rather than corporate basis. But that too had been strangled at the Jordanian border in the previous two years. (I was unable to clarify the extent to which the Jordanian government was responsible for this closure.) It appeared, in fact, that almost all the families we encountered had about two years stock of oil in their basements. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the value of the harvest had become mostly symbolic. It was also a device for continuing to claim ownership of the land, since land that is not cultivated is claimed by the Israeli state. On the other hand, like the trade, the olive harvest itself had always been as much a family activity as a business.

  Picking olives involved being up and ready to walk to work at 6 am, along with the family and the household donkey. The groves we were sent to were located in what were considered the areas of maximum threat from settlers, either right up against settlement fences, hence usually on rather steep ground, slippery with loose rocks, above the villages, or else by the sides of settlement roads (which themselves had been built on confiscated land that had previously held rows of olive trees). Each family knew exactly which trees were theirs and no one ever harvested trees belonging to an unrelated family. At the end of the day, the sacks of olives were loaded on the donkeys and then immediately, or at least within a day or two, taken to the local olive press. These were rather crude affairs, with dirt floors and crowds of teenagers milling around. Nor were the olives very well cleaned or sorted as to size or quality. Since the olive oil trade had always been a small family affair, and the oil produced not up to the "extra virgin" standards demanded by European importers.

  Some of the oil was made into soap, either at home or commercially. The city of Nablus had had a particular reputation for its soap manufacture—until its major factory was destroyed during incursions last spring. Other than oil, some of the olives were processed to make them edible, and then pickled and preserved with the addition of spices. Almost all of these were consumed at home. Yet the revival and promotion of the olive oil trade was a subject that came up fairly frequently in discussions with village elders, and it even appeared that a route through Israel itself was under discussion, involving the interest and collaboration of Gush Shalom, one of the Israeli human rights groups. And amazingly, we did meet one gentleman with a cellar full of gallon drums, who claimed that he still continued to ship his oil to Saudi Arabia through family connections. I was never able to find out just how far advanced these plans were.

III.   Other attempted paths to economic aid and development

1.  Tourism and handicrafts

  Wherever the climate is hot, manufacturing is backward, and a number of ancient monuments or famous historical sites are found, the development of the tourist industry seems an obvious choice to persuade foreigners to spend money in poor countries without competing with the natives for employment. By a happy co-incidence, what was once the Palestinian Mandate had been a tourist and pilgrim destination for thousands of years. Moreover, taking advantage of the rather arbitrarily designated "millennium", a good deal of money had been donated from a number of sources, both religious and secular, for the purpose of welcoming and accommodating the hoped for hordes who would make their way to the "Holy Land" to commemorate it.

  That the hordes never materialized is only one more illustration of how elastic the demand for holiday experiences can be, and how fragile the income tourism generates. When I was in Palestine, I found most of the hotels deserted, their owners offering rates that could not have covered expenses or made them a living. In the shops and bazaars, both antiquities and handicrafts were being offered at bargain prices, to very few potential takers. Of course the dip in the tourist trade has affected Israel as well as Palestine; the former as well as the latter is dependent on subsidies and remissions and aid from richer countries, especially the United States.

  An industry related to tourism, accompanying it but, unlike tourism, amenable to export, is the production of handicrafts and other memorabilia. A number of NGOs have participated in programmes for the production and marketing by almost destitute Palestinians, particularly women, of traditional and modern handicrafts. Many of these programmes are aimed especially at widows or those who have otherwise become de facto family breadwinners when husbands or other male family members are jailed or disabled; some of them are for the disabled themselves. Such projects and outlets include: Sunbula, Palcrafts, Hebron Poor Women's Embroidery Project, UPA (USA), and the Arts and Crafts Village Weaving Project of Gaza City. Poignantly, these organisations tend to promote sales as much for the income and morale-boosting effects on the artisans, as for the quality and value of the products.[8]

2.  Marda experiment

  On both occasions, in 2001 and 2002, when I stayed in the village of Marda, it was mentioned that the village had been the site of an experiment in sustainable agriculture on the Cuban model, but that the offices as well as the fields had been raided, trashed and equipment destroyed and records taken. I have been unable to find out any more about this trial.

IV.   Conclusions

  In the face of such determined and powerful forces that seek to make not only development but life itself insupportable for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, it appears that hardly any efforts, no matter how well-meaning, on the part of foreign governments and NGOs to aid development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories can be successful without sufficient political pressure to end the occupation itself. The only alternative to wasted effort and resources must lie in humanitarian medical, financial and nutritional aid, a fallback at best.

August 2003


  [1]  See Eyal Weizman, "The Politics of Verticality", a photoessay, April, 2002,; "the settlements are heavily subsidized: First, the Israeli ministry of housing gives a grant equivalent to 15,000 dollars to every Israeli who decides to settle in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Second, these settlers pay lower taxes for the government in comparison with the regular Israeli citizen who lives inside the green line. Third, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Industry support the Industrial areas and the settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with what exceeds 65 million dollars. Finally, in the year 2000 the Israeli army and the Ministry of Transportation paid 40 million dollars for the construction of bypass roads." See PASSIA (The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs), P.O. Box 19545, Jerusalem. Email:

  [2]  The first phase of constructing the wall targets the most fertile and productive lands starting with the villages of northern region of Jenin (Zbuba, Tayba, Rumana) and extending to the southern region of Qalqilia (Mashah). Phase one of the Wall construction is complete. According to published maps, the length of the wall in this phase is 125 km in the districts of Jenin, Qalqilia and Tulkarem, and isolates 96,500 dunums of land in the area between the Green line and the wall, which includes 15 Palestinian communities that are completely separated from the rest of the West Bank. Furthermore, an additional barrier will be established east of the Wall. That and the enclaves created by the winding route of the wall will isolate an additional 19 communities living over 65,200 dunums of land east of the Wall. The total area isolated east and west of the wall is 161,700 dunums or 2.9% of the West Bank. Source: PASSIA; for a factsheet, contact Scottish Friends of Palestine, 31 Tinto Road, Glasgow G43 2AL, Email:

  Misleadingly called "security", the wall is actually designed to annex the maximum amount of settlement-claimed land, bring the greatest amount of Palestinian land under control, and drive out by untenable conditions the largest number of Palestinian residents possible. It has involved razing agricultural land, damaging irrigation networks, isolating water resources and demolishing homes, stores and community infrastructure. In the words of Jamal Juma (Coordinator of the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network ( "In some areas, it consists of an eight metre (25 feet) high concrete edifice with armed watchtowers hovering over residential areas. In others, the Wall is layers of electric fences and buffer zones of trenches, patrol paths, sensors and cameras. Whatever the structural differences, the effects are the same. Life in these open air prisons is intolerable."

  [3]  PHG Dec 2000; see also, Anis Saleh, "Who is stealing the water of the West Bank and Gaza Strip? ", Al, 11 January, 2003.

  [4]  Karen Assaf, "Environmental Problems Affecting Palestinian Women under Occupation" in Tamar Mayer, The Politics of Change, NY: Routledge, 1994, pp 164 178.

  [5]  Talk by Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, Director of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute, 30 Nov 2002 Palestine Solidarity Campaign Conference, School of Oriental and African Studies.

  [6]  Jonathan Cook, "Racism Reinforced", Al Ahram, 9 August 2003.

  [7]  See, for example, Sahua Najjab, "Women's Health in Palestine", Palestine Israel Journal II, 3 (1995), pp 43 47. Citing UNRWA statistics, Najjab says 50% of pregnant and lactating women are anemic, as well as 20% of mothers in general.

  [8]  Sadly, even such charitable ventures may not be immune to abuse by purportedly charitable organizations. A recent article by Ghassan Andoni, (a founder and director of ISM) entitled "Christians of the Holy Land Industry" noted complaints by Christian artisans of the Bethlehem area that their attempts to market their goods through churches abroad were obstructed by one "church related organization (name can be provided upon request)" which had acquired a "monopoly over this work", says Andoni, "No one is allowed selling in churches but through the organization. Many told me that the church related organization, which is registered in the US requested huge amounts of money to allow them access to churches."

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