Some 500 Israelis and Palestinians marched in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, October 2, to demand access to water for the village of Al-Mufqara, the site of a violent attack by masked settlers against protestors two weeks earlier. During that march occupation forces had fired stun grenades against the protestors and the deputy commander of a battalion was videoed assaulting an activist. This past Saturday’s march ended without violence, and participants said soldiers stood at a distance and didn’t approach the protest.
This latest march was organized by the Palestinian residents of the area together with Combatants for Peace, Breaking the Silence, Standing Together, Peace Now, Mothers against Violence, All That’s Left and activists from Hadash. It was part of the water campaign launched by Combatants for Peace in cooperation with the Committee for Protection and Resilience in Masafer Yatta, which aims to raise international awareness of the racism of the Israeli occupation, specifically in the inadequate distribution of water to Palestinians in what is known as “Area C” of the West Bank.
The march started from the village of Al-Tawani and reached the neighboring village of Al-Mufqara, where the participants raised banners condemning the occupation and settlements and demanded the rights of Palestinians to their stolen water. Among the participants in the march were two members of Knesset, the Joint List’s Ofer Cassif (Hadash) and Meretz’s Mossi Raz, and two officials from the Palestinian Authority, Walid Assaf, head of the PA’s Wall and Settlements Commission, and Dr. Sabri Saidam, Palestinian Minister of Education.
MK Cassif told the demonstrators, “It’s a great honor for me to be among you, hundreds of people who came here to stand with our Palestinian brothers and sisters who are suffering every day, every hour from the oppression of the occupation, and the terrorist settlers supported by the army of occupation. We are here together, hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians, who have come to say no. No to the occupation, yes to justice and freedom.”
On Tuesday afternoon, September 28, Simchat Torah, the last day of the Jewish New Year holiday season, dozens of masked Israeli settlers hurled stones at Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills. The missiles damaged cars and homes and injured at least 12 Palestinians including Mohammad Bakr Hussein, aged three.