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Friday, December 02, 2005

 

The Truth You Don't Hear

Excerpts from The Truth You Don't Hear by Dr. Mustapha Barghouti. The reality is bleak:

Land
: "Palestine is 27,000 square kilometres, of which the West Bank constitutes only 5,860 square kilometres, and the Gaza Strip, just 360 sq km. This is equal to only 1.3 per cent of the total land of historic Palestine. So even if Sharon really had withdrawn from Gaza, this would amount to just 5.8 per cent of the occupied territories."

Settlements: "Prior to the disengagement, a total of 152 settlements existed in the occupied territories: 101 in the West Bank, 30 in East Jerusalem, and 21 in the Gaza Strip. These figures do not include the settlements that Sharon and the Israeli army have created in the West Bank without officially recognising them. With the disengagement, and the evacuation of settlements in Gaza and four small settlements in the Jenin area of the West Bank, 127 settlements have been left in place."

Settlers: "436,000: 190,000 in Jerusalem, and 246,000 in the West Bank. Just 8,475, or two per cent of the total number of illegal settlers in the occupied territories were removed from the Gaza Strip and Jenin area. Yet in the same period, the settlement population in the West Bank has grown by a massive 15,800."

Water in Gaza: "Israel . . . exhausted the water resources in Gaza by tapping the flow of underground water east of Gaza -- resulting in the seepage of seawater into Gaza's coastal aquifer -- and through the over-pumping of the existing aquifer by Israeli settlements. As such, Gazans have been left with brackish water resources that cause high rates of kidney failure. The maximum accepted level of chloride in drinking water, as set by World Health Organisation standards, is 250 mg per litre. In most areas of Gaza, the level stands between 1,200 and 2,500 mg per litre."

The Apartheid Wall: "The construction of his ignominious wall and the expansion of settlements will eventually result in the total annexation of no less than 50 per cent of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the destruction of any potential for a coherent, contiguous, and viable Palestinian state.

The wall cuts as deep as 35 kilometres into the West Bank. Its construction has already resulted in the annexation of 9.5 per cent of the land of the West Bank. The area expropriated for settlement adds another eight per cent to this figure, while the building of the eastern wall in the Jordan Valley will allow Israel to annex a further 28.5 per cent of the West Bank.

The wall is being built at very high speed, regardless of the ICJ advisory opinion. It will be around 750 kilometres in length: three times as long and twice as high as the Berlin Wall. Over 1,060,000 trees -- mainly olive trees -- have been uprooted by Israeli bulldozers in the West Bank. This wall is not built inside Israeli territory, nor along 1967 borders, but inside the occupied territories, separating Palestinians from Palestinians, and not Palestinians from Israelis as Sharon claims.

This wall will isolate no less than 250,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem alone. At least 50-70,000 other Palestinians with Jerusalem ID cards will end up outside the wall, unable to access Jerusalem freely, and will lose access to health and educational services. This is the beginning of a process that will end up with taking away their IDs and forcing them to be outside the area of Jerusalem to which they belong.

In some places, the wall cuts houses into two. In Jerusalem, near Anata, the wall cuts off the playground and fields of a school from the school building itself. In the city of Qalqilya, 46,000 people are surrounded by the wall from all directions, leaving only one passage, a road 8m wide with a gate, through which they can pass. Israeli soldiers have the key to this gate, and can shut off the city whenever they choose.

A permit is required to cross the wall; one that is near impossible to obtain. And even if you succeed in obtaining this permit, you still have to negotiate unaccommodating gate opening times. In the Jayous area, you can cross between 7.40am and 8am, between 14pm and 14.15pm, and between 18.45pm and 19pm: a total of 50 minutes per day. Sometimes the army "forgets" to open the gates, and schoolchildren, teachers, farmers, patients and other ordinary people are left to wait indefinitely."

Water: "Of 960 million cubic metres of water that is generated in the West Bank, Palestinians are allowed to use only 109, one-tenth of our water. The rest goes to Israel. On average, a Palestinian citizen in the West Bank is allowed to use no more than 36 cubic metres of water per year, while Israeli settlers in the West Bank can use up to 2,400 cubic metres. We are not allowed to use our own roads and streets. We are not allowed to build houses. We are not allowed to move freely. Our GDP per capita is less than $1,000 while Israel's is almost $20,000, and still we have an imposed tax and market union which obliges us to buy products at the same cost as Israelis."

Dr. Barghouti advises employing sanctions against Israel until it adheres to international law. Can anyone read the above and think otherwise?

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