While it rained…

Farmers around the world wait for rain. When it comes they can relax a little.

In the small town of Qarawat Rani Hassan in the northern West Bank, that’s exactly what happened Wednesday March 24th.

It poured rain. For farmers in the West Bank rain has not been abundant, so this was welcome.

At 6 am, when the farmers usually use the road to get to their land, that day they were not on the road. Instead, the road was visited by the Israeli army and 2 bulldozers. It was unclear how many soldiers.

By 11 am, the road built by the Palestinian Authority, and personally supervised by Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad, was completely destroyed. Here are some photos taken 1 hour after the Israeli army and bulldozers had all left.

Road in shambles


“Go home or we’ll shoot you,” a local farmer was told. Rashid Mohammed, wearing the traditional Palestinian black and white kefiyeh, had been walking out to his land. At 9am he met the Israeli soldiers, who gave him the grim warning.

Farmer threatened to be killed if he did not leave


Another local man, Tawfik Marie, wearing traditional Arab garb, lamented to Allah the loss and the useless destruction he saw before him. No language skills were needed to understand the agony in his heart over this loss. Patricia and I were in tears as he spoke, this 70 year old himself trying to hold back his tears. He implored Allah to help.

Local farmer pleading for help from Allah

Local farmer pleading for help from Allah

The mayor of the town was angry, not having received one word of notice that this was going to happen or why. Why destroy a $400,000 brand new road, built September 15th, 2010 by the Palestinian Authority (PA). It was labeled Fayyad’s Freedom Road, named after PA Prime Minister Fayyad who personnally supervised the construction.

Mayor Abdul Rayam interviewed by EA Patricia Mercer, Jayyous

It is hard to comprehend if you do not live in the West Bank. You think there must be a logical reason. There isn’t. No reason given by the Israeli authorities, by the civil administration or by the Israeli army itself.

When I asked the mayor what could be the possible reason, the reply I received was,          ” They don’t need a reason”.  Later, he commented,”They (Israelis) need to build peace bridges, not destroy, not build hate against themselves.”

Palestinians live with events such as this on a daily basis all throughout the West Bank: this is occupation. This is why the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program is here in Palestine/Israel (EAPPI): to end the occupation through non-violent means and through United Nations Resolutions and International Humanitarian Law that respects the Geneva Conventions. At present, although Israel is a signatory to all, they are in contravention of all.

How did the army know few farmers would be out on the road going to their land? It was raining and while it rained…

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