Let’s start with this map of the West Bank. That’s part of Palestine.
Blue is the Oslo Zone C. This is also part of Palestine. The West Bank was occupied in 1967. At that time Ein Hijleh was ethnically cleansed and closed, the inhabitants driven out
It was plan to negotiate more in details on the Zone C, according to Oslo II, signed in 1995, because that time around 130,000 Israeli settlers lived there, who had gathered since 1967 there and because Israel as usual argued with security aspects. But a partial withdrawal should have been done until 1999. Of course Israel did not do that and now there are about 300,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. There was another settlement freeze in between, namely 2001, in connection with the agreement of the so-called roadmap. At that time there were about 200.000 settlers in the West Bank. So you see, these agreements were in fact not worth the paper, and because EU had noticed that as well, there is now a boycott of the economy in these illegal settlements.
Who looks at the map will note that Palestine is cut off from the entire river Jordan. And therefore off the area with its most important resources, which of course includes the Jordan water. This is surely a great way to undermine the existence of farmers, because where there is no water, there’s nothing to do with agriculture. Where there are no Israeli settlements, then there are military zones, and when that looks a bit too funny, it’s just declared as a nature reserve. Quasi in stock. So it is not surprising that the Palestinian towns there, the purple dots, in no small degree live of international support.
The extreme right in Israel, which is now probably pretty much expected to be mainstream, say, the West Bank belongs to them , because it should be Judea and Samaria. Well. This is religion , so it’s them at liberty to believe that. But there are a lot of religions in the world, Judaism is certainly not the most significant , and therefore no religion may require to be recognized as the only true ( which finally any religion claims to be) , but it has to hold on the secular international law . Also the Christians have ever claimed that Palestine belongs to them , and also they ‚ justified ‚ this with their religious beliefs , according to which the Jews were not entitled to it because since Jesus there would be a new covenant with God and a new people of God , the Christians . The old Palestinians , Canaanites , Philistines, and as their ancestors were all called , are used to such claims more than 3,000 years and no one can blame them that they do not care much about; they are experienced with that.
Today the civilized world adheres to the secular international law and under that law the West Bank belongs to Palestine. Basta. Something else does not apply. Certainly the international community regards for all the people who live there, including the illegal settlers, but that does not change the territorial conditions. Shall mean, the territory of a state and the individuals who live in it are two different sites.
That the Palestinians once said it’s enough, we now turn the tables, we fetch back our traditional territory, and this quite peaceful and civil, is close – because the illegal Israeli settlers operated quite similar, only that they generally are not restrained from their purpose and are also less peaceful. „Salt of the Earth“ is the program of the Palestinians, Arabic „al–Ard Melh„. Ein Hijleh was not the first recall campaign and it will not be the last, but she was the one with the biggest attention.
The Israelis had noticed that something was coming and reinforced the military patrols. But it did not help. The Palestinians were carefully planned, plunged suddenly into Ein Hijleh and within 10 minutes it was occupied by about 300 Palestinians. Not by any strangers, but mostly by people who came from the region and knew well about accordingly. That was on 31st January and the next morning it looked like this: >
That was of course nothing the Israelis did like. At first they cordoned off the entrances, particularly the main road, Route 90 west of Jericho, Ein Hijleh is situated near the east side of this road. In particular, water and food should not get there and of course no journalists. Confiscated water initially could peacefully be taken back and visitors, who carried something with them, too: with a big hello a whole group of Bedouins from Hebron met – on horseback and they had load plenty of food for the obligatory evening party.
And there were plenty of visits. Many of the villages and towns around wanted to stop by or even spend at least one night. The Israelis could not prevent them; when they wanted to stop the buses and trucks, the cars were just driving past it.
A particular annoyance was this sign: „State of Palestine – village Ein Hijleh – Welcome“, it says, and here it is held on Route 90. It annoyed the Israeli soldiers to be seen in the back on the road that much, that they tried to evacuate the village at once. With tear gas and physical effort in which the arm of a Palestinian went to break, who, after the arm at the hospital in Jericho had been splinted and supplied, undaunted returned.
Obviously, the Israelis had not to do with militants, as they usually claim, but with all normal, peaceful citizens who were even from the region and were familiar with it the best and, as you can see here, had no special respect in front of Israeli soldiers . On the contrary, they gave out the motto, we do all that without any violence, but we are not going away and confront with them face to face. Well, the too few soldiers could not do much against that and went off again. Not without smearing at the carefully painted welcome screen on a wall.
There were more visitors . Perhaps most important Archbishop Atallah Hanna. Because the old Canaanite Ein Hijleh was a Christian- Orthodox village , therefor it actually belongs to the church. Of course, the Israelis would not let Archbishop Hanna pass by ; did not matter, he went the last kilometers to Ein Hijleh by foot, as well as a delegation of EU diplomats who also expressed their sympathy with their visit . Archbishop Hanna had nothing to say against the re-colonisation of a Hijleh and said that the churches of Palestine stood behind all this action.
Ein Hijleh was now cheerfully and colorfully adorned and there was a lot of activity . Old houses were repaired , trees planted, paths cleared of rubble , even a solar system was installed. Much work had to be done with the water pipe , for that was capped four times by the Israeli army – and repaired four times by the Palestinians . Method Gaddafi , because also he capped gas, electricity and water off the Libyan cities which he besieged. Dinner was cooked and eaten together , they played music and heard lectures . It will remind you of some squatters in Western countries , only that Ein Hijleh was more colorful , cheerful, peaceful and nearer to family life .
On the night of 6 February a new chicane came with a rather malicious look: the military circled the village in military vehicles with sirens blaring. It makes you think to a ‚popular‘ torture method by which they seek to cave in political prisoners: systematic sleep deprivation. The residents of Nabi Saleh took this as an opportunity to cancel their Friday demonstration and instead to pull with all hands after Ein Hijleh, to spend the night there. In the evening the already pending children’s birthday was celebrated.
„We have come to stay,“ for the soldiers it was clear that with few chicanes nothing was aligned against the Palestinians. Especially since Palestinians are likely to be against it pretty tough . Prison camps, torture, beatings , that’s what one expects anyhow. So in the night of 7th February the Israelis pulled some 1,000 soldiers and border policemen together, like thieves in the night, and broke off. One should look into this video in order to get an idea. About 500 Palestinians, men, women and children were violently arrested, the soldiers took the children out from the ambulances , in which the adults had brought them quickly for safety , forced them into buses and transported them to Jericho. The hospital had of course work , because it were about 40 injured , mostly by blows with rifle butts . Some women came almost in a panic , because the Israelis had driven them so close to the open fire, that they feared to fall into it . And yet , it took a relatively long time until the Israelis had cleared the village completely. For these civilians could not be driven out so easily , they had almost to be carried away.
The Israelis did a ‚great‘ job: they came with bulldozers at once and you can feel the hatred that sits behind it, slowed down only by the fact that the Palestinians resisted non-violently: no beat, stones or even fireworks in a fix, as our young hooligans do so much if it goes against the „Bull pigs“ (police). Just with that name our young people would probably have called the Israeli soldiers and border police, with some justification – but Palestine is not a rampage game. Since this is something essential, one’s own and inherited land from which they were cooked, systematically distributed in many years, decades. „Ethnic Cleansing“ it is called.