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Sunday, December 11, 2016
Peace workers of all faiths to repair wells in Gaza
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┬áLater today, 21 peace campaigners, including six New Yorkers, plan to escort Palestinian repair workers to the main wells that serve five major Palestinian towns: Nusierat (60,000 inhabitants), Al Burage (35,000), Al Maghazi (23,000), Zawaida (15,000) and Beer Al Balah (25,000). The wells were damaged 15 months ago by Israeli tanks. Palestinian workers from the local municipalities have since attempted to repair the wells and have been shot at repeatedly. The wells are six metres from the fence that encloses the Israeli settlement of the Net Sarim. The wells not only provide the majority of the water for the middle area of Gaza (2000 cubic meters of water per day per well), but provide the best water available. Two of the peace campaigners are Japanese, three are from Denmark, three from the UK, two are from Puerto Rico and eleven are from the United States, including the following six New York City residents: Kevin D'amato, Amy Laura Cahn, Julie Hey, Will Weikart, Freddie Marraro, and Juan Casta˝as. They include Catholics, Lutherans, Buddhists, and people with no religious affiliation. The internationals have spent the last eight days attempting to contact Israeli officials in an attempt to utilize the proper administrative channels to secure permission to make the repairs without the threat of Israeli firepower. However, they have found that there is no structure in place to get Israeli permission for the repairs. Amy Laura Cahn, a Jewish American woman from New York said: "Last week, as our first tactic in a campaign to address the problem of the well, eleven of us walked into the entrance of Net Sarim, our passports and hands held high. We informed the soldiers that our plan was to escort the workers to the broken well, and asked for them to guarantee the workers' safety. They refused, and would not give us their names or the names of any of their commanding officers." "This is a concrete example among many of people being denied access to the basic human right of adequate water," said. "We hope to use our status as international observers to shield the repair workers from harm so that they can restore their communities' access to safe and adequate drinking water."
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