Saturday, 17 April 2010

Back to Broqeen village

This week i went back to Broqeen village in the northern West Bank. I have blogged previously about the concerns of the villagers that their stream and drinking water is being polluted by a nearby Israeli industrial settlement.

As yet no research has been completed which establishes the link between the pollution and health problems in the village. However, research by the Palestinian NGO 'House of Water and Envrionment' found high levels of untreated sewage from Israeli settlements in the water sources of Salfit district, which includes Broqeen village. Furthermore the report summary states that, "chemical analysis of the wastewater of Ariel and Burqan settlements...shows high concentrations of sulfate and chloride which do not meet the WHO standards". As i mentioned in my previous blog post, Burqan is the industrial settlement located near Broqeen which dumps its waste upstream from the village. You can read a summary of the report here. Unfortunately the full report is not available online.

These are water pipes which the village had purchased to safely transport the polluted water underground. Israel denied the villagers permission to use them.

I met a number of people in the village who have a family member who has died from cancer in recent years. The villagers say these deaths are unusually high. I was also struck by the sickly looking skin of the villagers near to the stream, especially the children. I have not seen children looking so sick anywhere else in Palestine, even in the refugee camp i visited in Nablus.

This is one of the families who live near the polluted stream in Broqeen. They told me of an unbearable smell produced by the pollution in the evening, which attracts dangerous insects. They have stopped using the spring near to their home as they believe it has become polluted.

House demolitions

The other problem the village faces is house demolitions. Under the logic of the Oslo 'peace accords' some houses in the village are classified as 'area A', nominally under Palestinian Authority control, and some are 'Area C', under Israeli control, and therefore vunerable to being demolished at any time.

This is an 'area C' house in Broqeen which was demolished by Israel.

In Salfit district Israel plans to move the apartheid wall further eastwards, close to Broqeen, in order to expand the already huge 'city-settlement' of Ariel. As a result some people in the village have been issued with warnings that their houses are 'in the way' of the planned route of the wall and may be demolished.

This is a family in Broqeen who live on the outskirts of the village, near to the planned new route of the apartheid wall. The mother is bringing up the children on her own after her husband died from cancer. The piece of paper she is holding is an order from Israel which forbids her from doing any building or renovation work on her home. The implicit threat is that it may be demolished in the next few years.

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