Volunteer work at Qarawa Bani-Hassan prompts settler activity
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Volunteer work at Qarawa Bani-Hassan prompts settler activity

Tens of Israeli settlers have returned to the sight of the springs at Qarawa Bani-Hassan; a village 14 Km west of Salfit, known for its beautiful landscape and water springs. This time, the settlers are supported by the Occupation army and bulldozers, and also by Israeli volunteers from Tel Aviv and Herzliya. They have brought construction materials to the spring and have started what looks like the first steps to building yet another settlement, and stealing more Palestinian land.

This same area had been cleaned up by youth volunteers from Stop the Wall Campaign aiming to build a local park for the inhabitants of Qarawa Bani-Hassan. A group of Palestinian youth planned a day of volunteer work in the spring area after a number of field visit which included seeing the landscape and speaking to members of the villages, including the mayor. The volunteers learned that one of the main springs in the village, located in a cave, was vandalized by Israeli settlers using rocks and mud, thus destroying the natural site. Together with the village inhabitants, the volunteers planned a work day at the site to revive it and prevent the settlers from damaging it further.

The first volunteer day was planned for the 26th of February, yet due to bad weather, was postponed until Friday, March 5th. Despite the change of date, about eighty (80) volunteers joined with members of the village and worked at the site for the entire day on Friday. Volunteers cleaned the road connecting the village with springs from rocks. The day’s work resulted in rehabilitating the road once again for cars to pass through and removing rocks from around the spring.

The area surrounding the springs was also cleaned from rocks and trash, in hope of turning the area into a park that can be used for picnics, children’s play, and other events. At the end of the day, members of Qarawa Bani-Hassan used a bulldozer to clean the opening of the cave from larger rocks that were blocking the way of the spring.

The attack on the site by the settlers is but a continuation of the expansion of settler activity in the West Bank, and further proof of the violent, illegal response Israeli settlers, backed by the Israeli government, are using to sabotage and attack all forms of Palestinian civil resistance to Israeli policies of occupation, colonization and apartheid.