Sewage water flowing from the Kfar Etzion settlement has destroyed some 70 dunums of land in the valley of ash-Shakheet, which belongs to the village of Beit Ummar. The contamination of Palestinian farmland by settlers is yet another way, commonly used, to force Palestinians off their land in order to steal and expand on it. The land is owned by the Sabarneh family and was fully cultivated with grapes.
Witnesses said large quantities of wastewater, coming from three open tubes belonging to the wastewater plant in the Kfar Etzion settlement, inundated the vineyards. The flow immediately flooded and destroyed the nearest seventy dunums cultivated with grapes. However, the land owners and farmers gathered at the threatened fields and tried to stop the wastewater from flowing further and wrecking more havoc. Some reported that even Palestinian workers in the settlementâs waste water plant came out and joined the ranks of those protecting the lands from flooding.
The media spokesman for Stop the Wall in Bethlehem distict, Awad Abu Swayye, commented: âThe flow of sewage in the vineyards threatens to destroy the entire crop. Further, farmers are fearful that the water will reach Bir Marina, a spring in the eastern region of Beit Ummarâs lands which is an important source for the irrigation of their agricultural fields. If settlers continue to pump, the sewage flood will be getting closer to the village itself.â
Rapid and serious action is needed to put an end to these further crimes of the occupation, developed both as a collective punishment for the weekly Friday protests and to simplify the expulsion of the Palestinian indigenous population from where it is not allowed to live anymore.