Sexual cleansing in Iraq

Residents of western Baghdad’s al-Salam district say militant groups in the area are hunting down women and killing them, and have petitioned the Iraqi parliament for urgent action. “Over the past six months 15 women were killed in al-Salam neighborhood… Read moreSexual cleansing in Iraq


West Bank Farmers Face Ruin After Trees Uprooted

Jamil Khader” title=”Jamil Khader” class=”image thumbnail” height=”67″ width=”100″>Jamil Khader

from IRIN

JEET, WEST BANK — It was difficult for 87-year-old Jamil Khader to discover that nearly all of the 1,400 olive trees his extended family planted in February had suddenly gone missing, having been uprooted and stolen.

“He became very ill when I told him. He was hospitalised and was in bed for a week,” his son Khalil, from the small town of Jeet in the northern West Bank, told IRIN.

The family reckon that the trees were uprooted in March but they did not find out about it until 16 April, when they got to the land, which they do not do regularly because of its proximity to the nearby Israeli settlement of Kedumim.

“We only go to work the land in coordination with the [Israeli] military. I am afraid to go alone, as the settlers have pulled guns on me in the past,” Khalil said.

The family and aid workers blamed settlers from Kedumim for the missing trees.

“There have been many violent incidents against Palestinians in that area of the West Bank,” said Emily Schaefer, a lawyer from the Israeli rights group Yesh Din, which specialises in such cases.

“In the three years we have been operating, not a single [Israeli] was convicted for uprooting or damaging Palestinian olive trees,” she said, noting that from her research she was doubtful anyone had ever been brought to justice by the Israeli authorities for such crimes.

Jamil was born in Nazereth, in what is now Israel, in 1922. During the spring of 1948, as the first Arab-Israeli war waged, his family became refugees.

“We left Nazereth with nothing at all,” he said, retelling his life as a policeman with the British during World War II, a soldier with the Arab armies in 1948 and later as a police officer with the Jordanians when they ruled the West Bank.

The last job gave him enough money to purchase the plot of land near Nablus, which has become the family’s most important possession. They, like others, have become increasingly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood as harsh restrictions on movement have cut them off from their former jobs as laborers inside Israel.

<em>Jamil Khader’s denuded land</em>” title=”<em>Jamil Khader’s denuded land</em>” class=”image thumbnail” height=”67″ width=”100″></a><span class=Jamil Khader’s denuded land

Reliant on agriculture
“I am completely reliant on agriculture; I don’t have any other work,” said Khalil, who is also registered with UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

“The olive trees and the other products from the land help support my family and my brothers and their children.”

With the local economy faltering, aid agencies had stepped in and tried to help: Of the missing trees, 1,000 had been donated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which said Jeet and the neighboring villages were especially vulnerable due to their limited land access and proximity to Israeli settlements.

“It is very disturbing to see that the farmers yet again have had their trees uprooted. Unfortunately it proves how difficult daily life is for these people,” Helge Kvam, a spokesman for the ICRC in Jerusalem, told IRIN.

This was, in fact, the fourth time in a decade that the village’s agriculture had been attacked. In the 1990s arsonists burnt down many hectares of olive trees. In 2005 another wave of violence destroyed most of the remaining trees.

In 2007 the Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights purchased and planted some 500 olive trees, hoping to improve the local economy. But over the following four months nearly all those trees were destroyed or uprooted and taken away.

With the ICRC donation now missing, residents feel at a loss and do not know if it will be possible to continue counting on agriculture as a source of livelihood, which was their fallback option.

In response to the incident, the Israeli military said it fell under the jurisdiction of the Civil Administration which in turn asked IRIN to contact the Israeli police. A police spokesman could only say that as the Palestinians had filed a complaint the case would be investigated, and suggested contacting the military.


This story was first run April 27 by the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), a United Nations news service.


Israeli experts propose radical changes to West Bank closure regime
IRIN, Feb. 14, 2008

Violence, lack of land access, make for bitter olive harvest
IRIN, Oct. 29, 2007

Yesh Din: Volunteers for Human Rights

See related story, this issue:


See also:

Palestinians Struggle for Land and Dignity—Inside the Green Line
by Saady Abu-Hatoum, Arab Association for Human Rights
WW4 Report, March 2008


Reprinted by World War 4 Report, April 1, 2008
Reprinting permissible with attribution

The Andes

Jamil Khader’s denuded land

Peru's top public prosecutor Luis Landa Burgos ordered that new charges be brought against ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori over the forcible sterilization of thousands of indigenous and peasant women during his time in power in the 1990s. Three of his former ministers are also to face charges, as well as his ex-health director. Landa said he has an archive of testimony from survivors including Inés Condori, an indigenous woman from Cuzco region who was the first to speak out about the forced sterilization she underwent in 1995. Fujimori, already convicted on other rights abuses and corruption charges, was released from prison following a presidential pardon in December. Landa is now evaluating the legality of the pardon in light of new criminal charges that have been brought. (Photo of sterilization survivors in community meeting from La República via CNDH)


Jamil Khader

West Bank farmer Jamil Khader, 87, became very ill when he discovered that nearly all of the 1,400 olive trees his extended family planted in February had suddenly gone missing. Photo: Shabtai Gold/IRIN Back to story.

Addendum: The 1924-1937 Panchen Lama dispute

In 1924, after a dispute between the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government, the Ninth Panchen Lama exited the region for China. After his death in 1937, his officials engaged a search for his successor. Traditionally, the new candidate needed to be confirmed by both the officials and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama refused and the Panchen Lama’s officials forged an alliance with the GMD and then, after 1949, with the CCP, for whom he became a key ally.

This is an obvious parallel to the current dispute between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s exile government over the 11th Panchen Lama. See:

Beijing-groomed Buddhists diss Dalai Lama
WW4 Report, March 19, 2008

His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet

Back to story.

Continue ReadingAddendum: The 1924-1937 Panchen Lama dispute