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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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."
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. 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'
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 . . ." (http://www.btselem.org/) 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,
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.
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. 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 blockssometimes 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.
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.
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." 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"
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 youngoften 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.
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. 
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
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
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 manufactureuntil 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
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
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.
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.
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.
 See Eyal Weizman, "The Politics
of Verticality", a photoessay, April, 2002, www.openDemocracy.net.;
"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.
 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: email@example.com
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
(www.pengon.org)): "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."
 PHG Dec 2000; see also, Anis Saleh,
"Who is stealing the water of the West Bank and Gaza Strip?
", Al Awda.News@smtpgw01.palnet.com, 11 January, 2003.
 Karen Assaf, "Environmental
Problems Affecting Palestinian Women under Occupation"
in Tamar Mayer, The Politics of Change, NY: Routledge, 1994, pp
 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.
 Jonathan Cook, "Racism Reinforced",
Al Ahram, 9 August 2003.
 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
 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."