Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ten Reasons that Havot Ma'on Outpost and Ma'on Settlement Have Got to Go;

As I said last week, I'm complying a list of ten reasons why Havot Ma'on Outpost and Ma'on Settlement should be dismantled. And since this is a urgent situation, without further ado, her's reason number two.

Reason Two: As long as Havot Ma'on and Ma'on remain, Palestinians in the village of Tuba have no usable road to their village.

Israeli settlers have built Ma'on settlement and Havot Ma'on outpost on both sides of the only road to the village of Tuba.

The Ma'on Settlement, Havot Ma'on Settlement Outpost, and road that runs between them.

This road, which you can see in the center of the photograph between the settlement and the outpost, was built by Palestinians. It is the most efficient way for residents of Tuba to travel to At-Tuwani and is the only way that vehicles can access the village. As you might imagine, this road is incredibly important to the village's quality of life.

However, since the establishment of Havot Ma'on and Ma'on, Palestinians have been unable to use this road. Settlers have threatened and beaten Palestinians who have tried to use it so frequently with such complete impunity that currently the only Palestinians able to use it are school children - and they require a Israeli army escort to do so.

Because Tuba residents have no road, when a woman is pregnant, she must decide if she will walk to the city of Yatta through the hills - where she could be beaten by settlers - well before her due date or stay in the village and give birth in her home. Because they have no road, accessing health care is difficult for everyone in the village. Because they have no road, Palestinians are unable to bring water to their village during the summer time. In other words, because the residents of Tuba are unable to access the only road to their village, they are denied their basic human rights. As long as Havot Ma'on and Ma'on remain, it's difficult to imagine this situation changing.

But don't think for a moment that Palestinians are passively accepting this situation. In August 2009, Palestinians children and their parents held a demonstration to highlight the importance of this road. Though they were harassed by the army and followed by settlers, they walked all the way to Tuba and home via this road. This photo below shows the march, one of the most moving sights I've ever been privileged to witness.

The August 2nd 2008 Children's March to Tuba walking along Tuba's only road

At the time, a friend of ours told me that march was the first time in eleven years that Palestinians had used that road.

How can you help this situation? That's not an easy question to answer. First, you can let people know about this situation. Write about it. Link to this article. Tell your government representatives and demand that they do something. Write an editoral. Tell your friends. But I also believe that they best way to support Palestinian access to Tuba's road is to support the one group of Palestians who are currently using it: the school children. I wrote about there situation only last week and they still need your support. Take some time to contact the Israeli army and pressure them escort the children properly. All of the details you need to do so are right here.

That's reason number two. Eight more on the way.

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