On January 18, 2010 Bezeq International signed an exclusive partnership agreement with British Telecom (BT). Bezeq is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bezeq, which not only provides telecommunications to settlements in the West Bank, but also owns some 60 properties (9,300 sq m of land in total) in the West Bank. The company provides services to larger, more entrenched settlements as well as so-called “outposts”, effectively serving to strengthen and expand the settlement project.



Stop the Wall has collected several testimonies from villages that have been affected by the settlements and their ongoing expansion. Visit the Disconnect Now website for more information on the campaign.



Marda



A small village in the Salfit district of the West Bank, Marda is overlooked by Ariel, an illegal Israeli settlement.



"I was still a little child back in the sixties, when my father used to take me to our land. I remember him lying on the ground, pushing some large stones with his feet – because they were too large to carry – to build a small stone barrier around our land. I also remember how he used to fill his cloak with soil and fertilisers to put around the roots of almond and olive trees. My father looked after his trees the way he looked after us, his children".



Yousef (Joseph) Ibdah, a 48 year-old father of six from the village of Marda, is the victim of a new bypass road for the Ariel colony built on his land. This land that he had planted with at least 160 olive and almond trees was Yousef’s only source of livelihood that sustained him and his family. Now, this bypass road has prevented him from reaching his land and looking after it. Yousef is only 3 kilometres away from his trees, yet he cannot reach them anymore.



"This land is very precious, my dad worked hard to keep it and take care of it. We used to live out of it. The olives in this land are so sacred. To spend my time lying under an olive tree in my land equals the world to me. I will never ever leave this land, even if I had to live under a tent".



Iraq Burin



Palestinians in Iraq Burin village, a short distance from the city of Nablus, have long suffered from land confiscation, as well as harassment and attacks by settlers from nearby Bracha. Occupation forces repress villagers with arrests and brutal responses to demonstrations.



"On 20th March 2010, the villagers of Iraq Burin went out on their weekly march in the direction of the land threatened by expropriation to the east of the village. There they clashed with the settlers and Israeli occupation forces, so the young men returned back to the village.



Usayd Qadous (17) and Muhammad Qadous (15) were with a small group by the main road. The Israeli occupation forces that were present had gathered 100 metres away, in order to suppress the protest and support the settlers. The sniper fired his first bullet striking Usayd in the head. As he fell to the ground, Muhammad ran to his rescue and held him, pressing his hand over the wound to Usayd’s head. Then the sniper fired a second bullet into Muhammad’s chest and he sank down by Usayd. Both men died of their wounds."



At the time, an Israeli military spokesperson claimed that Occupation forces used rubber-coated metal bullets. This was later retracted, and it was confirmed that live ammunition was used.



Khirbet Zakariya



Khirbet Zakariya is a small Palestinian community surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements in the so-called Gush Etzion ‘bloc’ of colonies south-west of Bethlehem.



Khalil Mahmoud Abu Suway, 29 years old.



"I am not allowed to add to or expand this room which I inherited from my father. I am married and my family is growing but I can’t offer my children a safe place. During winter, the rain water drips into the house, and we are not protected from the cold in the night or the humidity. Despite all that, the military governor gave me an oral demolition order for this room. I am not allowed to build on my own land – how can this be?



Look at Etzion, how beautiful it is, how big the houses are and how nicely the roads are paved. Why were the settlers allowed to build all these nice houses, while we are not allowed to build even one room or to expand our houses, or even to install water and sewage pipes in our houses?



The Occupation forced us to buy water from Etzion settlement municipality, because we are not under the PA jurisdiction areas. A while ago they raised the price of a cubic metre of water to 10 shekels (£1.70). In Bethlehem, in the PA areas, the same cubic metre of water is 4 shekels (£0.69). That makes us, of course, unable to buy water to farm our lands. That’s exactly their aim from playing with prices – that we can’t farm our lands and in the end leave it and emigrate."



































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