Author Archives: noamd

COMET on BBC World Competition

BBC CHALLENGE E-MAIL TEXT FOR COMET-ME Comet-ME Needs YOUR Vote – Today! Comet-ME proudly announces it is one of 12 finalists in the BBC World Challenge 2009. This global competition focuses on grassroots projects and small businesses worldwide that are taking effective, innovative action in environmental and socio-economic issues. In November, the winning project receives an award of $20,000! Comet-ME would use this prize to expand our project and to provide sustainable energy to another community. The winning project will be determined by online voting between 28 September 2009 and 13 November 2009, at

Comet-ME, a group of Israelis, Palestinians, and international volunteers, works closely with very poor communities in the occupied areas of Palestine. Under Israeli military occupation for 42 years, these people have no access (for political reasons) to the electricity grid. Our common goal is to help these people build sustainable energy systems using solar and wind power. Illumination, communication, and refrigeration increase their potential for generating revenue and reducing chronic poverty. We work with mutual interest and mutual respect, in the conviction that what we build together can begin to heal what has been destroyed. Each community owns its own project, and its local committee makes all relevant decisions; we provide materials and knowledge for building the energy systems. We foster proactivity in these weak communities: teaching and encouraging them to maintain their energy systems leads them toward economic empowerment. All of us believe that working together on such projects weakens the barriers of suspicion and hostility, ultimately facilitating the end of racism and segregation in the Middle East. Building energy systems in the occupied territories, we face daily danger to our work, both from Israeli settlers and from the Israeli army. It’s critical, therefore, that we become internationally recognized. International public opinion has significant impact in Israel. For this reason, we ask you to cast your vote for Comet-ME in the BBC World Challenge 2009. Please visit the website noted above during the voting period of 28 September through 13 November 2009, and vote for Comet-ME. And then, please visit our website at to learn more about the work we are doing with communities in the South Hebron Hills of Palestine. We hope you will forward this e-mail to all your friends, encouraging them to join you in casting a vote for Comet-ME.

Settlers Attack on Susya

On Wednesday, September 9th, 2009, the Israeli army destroyed a trailer located on “Flag Hill”, several hundred meters west of Susiya settlement. A short while later, around 11:00, dozens of settlers showed up at the small living area of the Balal family in the Palestinian hamlet of Susiya. These settlers violently attacked the three family members who were present on the spot – the father, Abu Nimer; the mother, Umm Nimer, and their daughter Alia. They also burst into the family kitchen and broke everything they found. The assailants also cut the electric cable supplying solar energy to the family home. Soldiers arriving on the spot, shortly after the settlers, stood aside and did nothing to interfere until the mother of the family was hit on the head with a blunt object. Only then did the soldiers intervene and made the settlers leave the Balal family home. The same assailants proceeded towards the residence of the Shiniran family, but were blocked there by members of this large family who had been alerted in time. While the assault against the Balal family was going on, about ten other settlers attacked the family’s livestock and the son who herded the flock – Issa. Several members of other families came out to help him. A fight ensued between them and the settlers, which fortunately ended without casualties or detainees. The settlers also attacked a local photographer as he recorded the goings-on with a camera belonging to ‘B’tselem’ human rights organization, and broke his camera. All these actions took place as apart of what the settlers name ‘the price tag’ – a premeditated, regular procedure by which the settlers respond to any attempt on the part of the government and the army to carry out evacuation or dismantling of outposts, immediately assailing the Palestinian population living in close the vicinity. After collecting ‘price tags’, the same settlers-assailants resumed construction in the area of “Flag Hill” outpost (picture no. 1) and it seems this outpost will grow considerably in the very near future. Other attached photos show Umm Nimer, the mother of the family who has been attacked several times this year and this time was seriously beaten in her back and head (picture no. 2); the Balal family kitchen most of whose utensils were shattered (picture no. 3); and a general view of the attacked family’s living quarters (picture no. 4).

Ehud Krinis and Erella Dunayevsky The Villages Group

On the same evening the team of COMET-ME came and fixed the solar system

Installation of solar systems for 6 more families in Susya

Dear Friends,
The last three months have been busy around here. Comet-ME was working on two issues in particular – fund raising and completing our work in Susya.
I will start with the good news: Comet-ME, using funds obtained from the German representative office in Ramallah and the Firedoll and Sparkplug foundations was able to complete the installation of solar home systems to all the families living in Susya. Most of July and the beginning of August were dedicated to the purchasing, construction and finally the installation of six more family solar systems in Susya and the upgrading of the community utility center we built in March. The installation itself was great. Very intense, and hot, but rewarding, with some of the families having to wait for their turn almost a year. The process took several days in which we worked with Susya maintenance team, the families and many of our friends (including a group from Engineers Without Borders – Israel).

On the left you can see the new system we installed with the Abu Malesh family whom we got to know while working on the installation of the utility center in March. The system there is a typical family system with three bulbs and an electricity socket to power a charger or radio. This time around we wired the electric cabinets ourselves, to reduce costs even further, and changed the operation voltage of the systems to 220V AC so as to allow the users the freedom from specialized DC equipment – they can now use regular light bulbs and appliances.
On the right you can see Noam trying to figure out which way is which with the turbine upgrade. The whole system is now more powerful then before and can power two refrigerators; a welcome addition two weeks before the Ramadan and the heat of the desert.

On the fund-raising front we had some success in the early summer when we were approved the three grants I mentioned above but, on the other hand, two substantial grant we were hoping to get now seem out of the question as the funding organizations themselves are under the burden of the economic crisis. We are now hard at work trying to develop new directions but it might take a while.
At this point you come into the picture – help us continue the work we do. Spread the word.

One more thing, last but most definitely not least. The BBC world challange is an annual competition for grass root organizations that bring social and environmental change. Comet-ME is very proud to be selected as one of the 12 finalists on the competition. The winner will be chosen by open internet voting that will start on the 28th of September. There is still some time to go but we will need each and every one of you to vote (for us, we hope) and get everybody you know to follow suit.

We have created a facebook account and a twitter account. Join us there so you can follow up on what we are up to and introduce us to your friends.



Comet-ME : Community Energy Technology in the Middle East
visit us at:

Help us to help the People of Susya

The Villages Group is involved in Susya in different ways:
• The COMET renewable energy project ( –
This project is about to its next stage, this time with the help of the German Consulate and the Firedoll NGO.

• Transportation of children to school (from Susiya and elsewhere in the region) –
There is a need to buy a new school bus for the children of Susiya.
With the help of the US-Omen NGO we obtained $7,500 of the $12,500 needed for this purchase.
In addition, the cost of a driver’s salary, gas and other expenses amounts to some $13,000 per year. Of this sum, $7,500 is covered by the British Shalom-Salaam Trust.

• Professional courses for women –
Thanks to a donation of $12,000 from the Center of Emerging Future, we were able to send this year six young women from Susiya and another six from the area to professional courses.
Hopefully, we would be able to continue with this program also next year.

• Scholarships to students –
With the support of the US-Omen NGO, this year we were also able to give scholarships to five students from Susiya and twelve other students from the south Mt. Hebron area.
In order to continue this project, we need to raise $10,000.

• Susiya Summer Camp –
Last but not least, we obtained about $1,800 of the $2,200 needed for the camp.
The camp is due to take place next month.

Given the settlers’ aggression towards people in this region, the oppressive policy of the Israeli occupation forces (aimed to make the life of the local Palestinian residents unbearable), and the total neglect of this area by the Palestinian Authority – all these needs should be considered essential.

Ehud Krinis
Villages Group

Music Center – Request for support

Dear Friends and Supporters,

A while ago we (villages group’s members), together with Jubier Shtaeh (a musician from Salem village nearby Nablus), wrote and sent a proposal which brings the urgent need of kids in these villages to have a music center. Since things like that have the nature of being forgotten among so many other human being’s needs in our area, and since we added four minutes video to the proposal because the issue is still urgent and relevant, we send it again to those who care together with us.
Please watch the video in the following link:

salem from salem salem on Vimeo.

Here is the proposal below. Please contact us if you want to help.


Jubier Ishtayya – musician, Salem Village

Erella and Ehud
Villages Group


A Music Center in Salem and Dier El Khatab: A Proposal


The villages of Salem and Dier El Khatab are located in the eastern outskirt of Nablus, between the refugee camps Askar and Balata and the Settlements Elon More and Itamar. The villages are municipally, economically and medically dependant on Nablus, and thus suffer deeply from the Israeli policy of military blockade enforced in the area since 2000. As a result of this enforced isolation from Nablus the villages lack many basic services in all areas of daily life.

One of the areas in which this isolation is severely felt is that of culture. The villages lack any cultural center in which children as well as adults can learn, enjoy leisure time, exposed to culture and develop their intellectual, mental and spiritual abilities. Children and teenaged people especially suffer. They are exposed daily to the violent state of affairs of the occupation, a fact which brings much stress and pressure on them. Their villages, however, lack any facilities to ease the stress, and direct it to productive channels.

In order to cope with some of these consequences a group of people from the villages, led by Mr. Jubier Ishtayya, a musician and music teacher has attempted to establish a music center. Music, being a universal language, is an important tool for healing and empowerment as well as an educational device, for diligence and responsibility. This initiative is a product of a fruitful and lasting cooperation between people in the village and Israeli volunteers (named “the village group”, see: which has been in place for more than five years. It also has a full cooperation of the local municipality, which supplies us with a suitable space.

Description of the project:

The suggested program is of a one year course, divided into two terms: In the first the students will study the basics of music, and then learn to play different instruments, according to skill and preference. Each year a new group will open. The project is aims to address 30 pupils from the two villages, who will be chosen according to an examination of their basic musical potential, as space is limited. .

This is only the first step. It is our hope and belief that over the years the center will be able to accept more children and extend its activities. We hope to create a band from among the students. We also believe the place could spread out to other arts (painting, sculpture etc.) to become a real leisure and cultural center for the villages.

Length of the project: 12 months

Aimed group: Boys and girls ages 8-16

Place: A room in the building that belongs to the municipality of Salem.

Musical Goals:

1. Creating awareness to music in the village.

2. Discovering and fostering of musical talent.

3. Creating a music group among the students.

Extra musical goals:

1. Alleviating and easing the mental pressure for the villages’ youngsters.

2. Founding a center for mental, spiritual and intellectual development for children

Budget- pilot project for the first year:

Final price


Price for a unit


Number of units Purpose Number
6000 250 2x 12=24 Music teachers for a year 1
450 150 3 Ouds 2
450 150 3 Violins 3
375 125 3 Guitars 4
1500 500 3 Gem organs 5
150 50 3 Drums 6
150 75 2 Large Tambourines 7
150 50 3 Timbrels 8
3000 250 12 months Project coordinator 9
500 Office equipment 10
500 Administrative expenses 11
750 50 15 Music Stands 12
650 1 Camera for documentation 13
750 1 Laptop and keyboard 14
15325 Total price:


Jubier Ishtayya – Salem Village  (

Erella Dunayevsky – Villages Group (

Ehud Krinis – Villages Group (

Installation of renewable energy utility center at Susya

Dear friends,

After much work in the past weeks we have finally completed the installation of the utility center with the Shineran family in Susya this week. The center, which serves 8 families with about 1000 heads of sheep, includes a refrigerator and a butter making machine and is powered by a hybrid wind and solar electricity generating system. The actual installation was the culmination of months of preparations by the local community and the Comet-ME team – from the preliminary needs survey, the joint definition of the system, fund raising, all the technical preparation and construction, the tower itself which was purchased from a local welder in Yatta, to the installation in the Shineran. We had a very intensive week which started with bringing everything to Susya, three days in which we build all the electrical systems and a day in which we raised the turbine. Later a shed was built to house the system and finally we brought the refrigerator ( a highly efficient one with no freezer and a volume of 500 liters) and completed all the cables and final mountings of the equipment.

The real proof of the concept came when we first operated the turbine. Although the butter making machine was mentioned from the beginning we did not grasp its importance until there was enough energy in the system to operate it. The Shineran people had already bought one before the installation was over and the minute we span the turbine they brought it over – it is just a big drum with an old washing machine motor attached to it that drives a mixer – and filled it with freshly milked goat and sheep milk. The smile on their faces when they saw it is actually working, and commotion around the machine were enough to justify the whole project. The traditional way to make the butter (one of their main sources of income) is to manually shake a milk filled goat intestine for hours. The introduction of electricity will save each family several hours of manual labor each day.

There is still a lot we do not know: the production patterns, consumption patterns, the way it will affect the community, maintenance issues, and probably a lot more “unknown unknowns”. In many ways this is just the beginning of the road for this particular project and we look forward to see how it will develop.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the donors who made this project possible and ask you to consider contributing to the work we do – there is still a lot more we wish to achieve in the region. Visit our website for an in-depth look at what we do and what are our plans for the coming year and please forward this email to whomever you think might be interested.

All the best,
Noam and Elad.

Traditional butter making...

Traditional butter making...

Comet-ME : Community Energy Technology in the Middle East

visit us at:

Umm al-Kheir update New road of the settlement Carmel damages water drain system

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Two weeks after our our previous report (see:

it is now become clear that although the well itself wasn’t destroyed by settlers bulldozers, it’s whole drainage basin was damage in a way that will probably make this well useless (see especially photo 4: the well is just below the new patrol road of  Carmel settlement).

is also clear that the creation the paving of this road, enables the settlers and the army to control and make sure that after more than 50 years, Umm al-Kheir residents stop using the lands in the valley below for grazing purpose.

Ehud Krinis

Villages Group

New Web site for the renewable energy project in South Hebron Mountains

We have launched a new website, dedicated to the renewable energy projects in the South Hebron Mountains area:
In these web pages you will  find all the documentation of the project, video clips and image gallery. You may also donate to the project through the web.

Noam Dotan

Renewable energy Project in Susya, South Hebron Mountain

South Mt. Hebron Students- Middle of the Year Report

Dear friends and supporters,

As we near the end of the school year’s first semester and registration for its second semester, we met the South Hebron Hills students whom we assist in their academic studies. We are currently supporting fourteen students from five localities in this area: Susya, Mufaqara, Tuba, Tuwane and Um Al Kheir. Our conversations with the students were instructive regarding their progress, the subjects they are engaged in and their general satisfaction from their work. The assistance received from the donors, headed by the American US Omen organization, enables these students – who have previously only been able to participate in a small number of academic courses each semester and sometimes even forced to disrupt their studies – to now register for courses of a sufficient scope to complete their degree within a reasonable period of four-five years. Most of the students whom we support are either at the beginning or middle phases of their studies. Three of them are more advanced, and we hope they will manage to complete their studies in the current school year, or the next one. Thirteen of the fourteen students are studying at the Jerusalem Open University (Al Quds al Maftuha) Yatta Extension, the nearest university to their villages and the least expensive in tuition. Another student studies at Al Aroub College.

The fields of study are varied and vast: Geography, English, economics, accounting, mathematics, Arabic, religion, computers, social work, life science and social science. In our conversations with them, the students expressed their satisfaction with their own studies, their grattitude to the donors abroad and to us, and their hope that we shall be able to maintain this assistance until they successfully complete their course of studies. We wish the students succes in their term final exminations and a fruitful continuation of their academic pursuit.

Ehud Krinis

The Villages Group