Tag Archives: Middle East

Second School Year Opens at Salem’s Music Center

On Saturday February 19 we visited the Salem Music Center. We were accompanied by three professionals – Fuad, a music teacher from Tel Aviv-Yaffa, Ram – principal of Tel Aviv’s art high school, and Ruti – head of that school’s music department.

The occasion was the opening of a second school year at the Center, absorbing a second cohort of students in addition to last year’s students who continue their work (see here for a description of the first year’s graduation concert). Some challenges facing the Center in its second year:

  • Moving from the local council building to a rented building dedicated solely to Center activities;
  • Expanding the teacher staff to accommodate the additional students;
  • Expanding the deepening the relationships with professionals in Israel and abroad;
  • Deepening the commitment and involvement of student families, including a larger financial participation in covering costs;
  • Expanding the donor base to enable the increase in activities.

If you are interested in getting involved and supporting, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have a new email address: villagesgroup1@gmail.com.

Or contact Mr. Jubier Ishteh, the Center’s founder and director: jubier10@gmail.com, or the administrative and financial manager, Fadi Ishteh: fadi.ishteh@gmail.com.

All the best,

Ehud Krinis

Please Help Rebuild 13 Water Cisterns Destroyed by the Israeli Army

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We relay and fully endorse this message, from Ta’ayush activists with whom we have been working hand-in-hand for years to protect the right of South Hebron Hill (Massafar Yatta) indigenous residents. Please support their rebuilding effort.

Thanks, The Villages Group.

The situation of the Palestinian cave-dwellers in South Hebron Hills continues to be difficult. They suffer from permanent harassment carried out by the military and settlers. This year, however, has been even more difficult, due to a severe drought.

As if it wanted to capitalize on the harsh conditions, on December 16th, the Israeli military destroyed 13 water cisterns belonging to Palestinian families in South Hebron hills.
(direct link to video here; Ha’aretz news story here)

The military claims that these water cisterns (or reservoirs) were built illegally and therefore must be destroyed. Some were built in recent years with international assistance, and some were built before 1967 during the Jordanian rule, but still (according to martial law) need Israeli re-authorization. Since the military regime’s “Zone C Planning Committees” are dominated by settlers, there is no chance to obtain such a permit. The cisterns are located on West Bank lands that the Israel has designated for the IDF as “firing zones” – areas the military uses as training sites for live ammunition.

The destruction or the water cisterns leaves the Palestinian shepherds without water sources, and forces them to limit their grazing areas. This is exactly what the Israeli authorities intend to achieve. It makes the life of this population, already probably the poorest in the whole West Bank, all but impossible.

In order to help the Palestinians keep their lands and strengthen the Sumoud (steadfastness) of South Hebron area residents, Taáyush activists have started helping reconstruct the cisterns.

We need $4,200 for each cistern. We have set out to reconstruct ten cisterns, please help us accomplish this goal.

Donation can be made to Taáyush:
Via Bank Deposit

Bank Hapoalim
Branch 574 (‘Hapalmach’)
Account no. 160213
Swift code ‘poalilit’
IBAN: IL61-0125-7400-0000-0160-213

Via Paypal

Please mail Anat566@gmail.com with the donation details.
Thank you in advance,

The south Hebron committee of Taáyush Jerusalem

Barriers on the Way to the South Hebron Hills Opened – for Now

Dear friends and Supporters,

A few days ago we traveled on the crossing road of Massafer Yatta, the caves dwellers area of south Mt. Hebron.  After a month of total block, the Israeli army bulldozers made small breaches in the in the long earth mounds they build few weeks ago (in order to isolate the residents of the caves dwellers villages from the rest of the world).


Small and temporary as they are, these current breaches enable the Italian organization UCODEP to send its water supply to southern villages of Jinba, Mirkez and Hallwah after a long period of delay, which include also a continued rain halt in the region. Erella’s words in the post before last can give you a glimpse on the silent heroism of the caves dwellers of Massafer Yatta, who have been struggling for more than a quarter of a country against an everyday brutal oppression of the Israeli occupation forces and the settlement colonists.

Here is a short quote from that post:

Musa continues his description of the latest blocking process: “A week ago I went over to the soldier operating the bulldozer. I asked him: “Why are you blocking us?” He said, “So Palestinian workers without permits will not cross into Israel, nor terrorists.” So why not block your own area? [i.e., on the Green Line – AO] … He said, “Ask the bosses. I’m not the commander here.” “I don’t need to ask the bosses”, Musa tells us, his face very clear. “I know. They want the land without the people.”

“You see,” Musa continues, “before the Israelis, there were the Jordanians here. They did lots of bad things to people. And before them were the British, and the Turks before that. And now the Israelis. later there will be a Palestinian government. But it will fall, too. Governments fall. Governments whose intentions are not pure, don’t last.But I don’t belong to governments. I belong to the land. They will not move me from here, because I belong to the land.” Musa said this lightly, with an ease of things that are obvious and self-evident. There was not a bit of pomp in his confident voice. Only a kind of simple inner truth which he felt he could share with us.

In my mind I heard the familiar echo of occupiers and settlers and colonists who say, “We shall not be moved, for the land belongs to us.”….And suddenly, that little difference opened wide and spread itself before my heart … This was the simple knowledge of the difference between “I shall not be moved from here, for I belong to the land”, and “I will not be moved from here for the land belongs to me.”


Ehud krinis and Assaf Oron

Villages Group

South Hebron: Update about Road Blockades by the Military

Continuing Yesterday’s post, a team from the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Ta’ayush managed, after great difficulties, to reach the Jinba area. They report that the military has carried out in the last few days a massive earth-removal initiative, designed to effectively wipe out the network of dirt roads connecting the southern part of Massafer Yatta (the part closest to Israel) with the northern part and the rest of the West Bank.

This is the worst deterioration in the situation of the cave dweller community, since the mass expulsions of 1999. They fly in the face of the 2000 Israeli High Court verdict reaffirming the cave dwellers’ right to continue their way of life. The most plausible conclusion that this is a transparent attempt to ethnically cleanse this region of its Palestinians, in order to facilitate the annexation of the Jewish settlements to its north to Israel.

Action: Please petition

Israel’s Ministry of Defense, currently under Ehud Barak.

Phone: +972 3 6975349 Fax: +972 3 6976218 /691 6940 / 696 2757 / 691 7915/
Email: sar@mod.gov.il; pniot@mod.gov.il

IDF Chief of Staff, General Gavriel Ashkenazi

Phone: +972 3 6109898 / 6080200/19 Fax: + 972 3 691 6940 / 608 0343
Email: info@mail.idf.il

IDF Chief Military Attorney, Lt. General Avichai Mandelblit

Fax: +972-3-569-43-70 (may be out of date)

Point out that the right of cave dwellers to continue living in their historical range has been reaffirmed several times over by the Court; that this requires their continued contact with their main city of Yatta to the north; that recent military moves appear to be in contempt of these decisions.

Please post a comment if you’ve written any of them

South Hebron: Israeli army blocking roads to cave dwellers area, preventing water supply

Dear Friends,

As you know if you visit this site, the main cave dwellers area in South Hebron region, known as Massafer Yatta by its residents, or Military Zone 918 in the Army lexicon, is suffering for years now under the hands of the Israeli occupation forces.

Defeated in the legal arena, after the high court of Israel approved (at least temporarily) the legal status of the cave dwellers communities, the Israeli army is fighting a ‘dirty war’ against these communities. After one of these dirty tricks – the erecting of a small concrete wall on the main road between Yatta and its Massafer (road 317) – was also abolished by the high court of justice, the army is working now inside the Massafer area, creating many roadblocks on its dirt roads, making the everyday life of its local Palestinian residents impossible.

The linked Powerpoint report was made by an Italian organization UCODEP, which is now supplying water tanks to cave dweller communities, saving their herds from dying, after the harsh drought of last year. As shown in the attached maps and photos, the army has created roadblocks that by now prevent the UCODEP water tanks from reaching the southern cave dwellers communities of Jinba, Mirkez and Halaweh, leaving these desert communities without water supply, after the long summer, while no rain is in sight.