Appeal from a small village in the Holy Land

 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 sewage pipe 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. Due to the heavy rains of the previous months the situation for the villages has become critical and the majority of Zabuba's 13 wells are now believed to be polluted. "We are worried that the situation will become even worse when summer comes," Imad Jaradat of the Zabuba Council told a group of international volunteers who visited the village on Tuesday. "They will not do anything and are not even allowing us to solve the problem ourselves," commented Mr Jaradat, referring the council's complaints to the military authorities who have refused even to allow the villagers to divert the course of the sewer. The community is being brought under further pressure by the erection of the new 'Security Fence' that Israel claims will solve the problem of suicide bombings by sealing off the Occupied Territories from Israel. More accurately described as a "Wall of Apartheid" by human rights workers, the wall seems to have been designed to alienate as much land as possible from the people of Palestine. On Monday 10 March the first bulldozers arrived in the olive and almond orchards around Zabuba in preparation for the wall's construction. The villagers have petitioned the army to build the road just 500 metres to the north of its planned site (which would still leave it on the Palestinian side of the Green Line separating Israel from the Occupied West Bank) but the Israelis have refused. If the wall and its 50 metre wide "security zone" are completed as planned, the farmers of Zabuba will lose a third of their land, which is already a fraction of what it once was as a result of a succession of Israeli land grabs and "border changes" carried out since 1948. The villagers of Zabuba have successfully resisted Israeli pressure to evacuate their ancestral holdings throughout 36 years of occupation and colonisation but fear that the erection of the wall, the pollution of their water supply and the channeling of sewerage through the centre of their village will finally render Zabuba unviable. Responsibility for this outrage is not Israel's alone but is shared by the its allies around the world which are financing the occupation of Palestine with aid and trade agreements and doing their utmost to distract the world's attention away from Israeli atrocities in Palestine as they prepare for a war on Iraq. Nevertheless, there is still hope for the people of Zabuba. The government in Washington is currently considering the approval a $12 billion aid package from the United States to fund its ongoing occupation of Palestine, the expansion of Jewish settlements, the construction of the 'Apartheid Wall', its 'incursions' into Palestinians town and cities, the purchase new military equipment and the balancing of its budget (under great strain due to massive military spending and settlement subsidies). This aid request is in addition to the US$3 billion Israel receives each year from the United States in military and economic aid. Although polls show that Americans are against granting this massive aid request by a ratio of two to one, Israeli influence upon the American government is such that the aid package will almost certainly be approved, at least in part. There is, however, a possibility that Zabuba might be saved through an organised lobbying campaign of the Israeli and American governments to link the aid package to the fate of Zabuba in particular and the issues of germ warfare and the Apartheid Wall in particular. The villagers are asking people around the world to pray for them, and to write to their governments to protest on their bahalf. Source: ISM

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