Settlement Uses Stinking Tactics

Sewage poolingWe woke on the morning of 26th December 2012 to the news that our friends in Sabastiya had received an extremely unpleasant Christmas gift. We were shocked and angry to hear their report that the nearby illegal settlement of Shavei Shomron had begun discharging raw, untreated sewage onto Sabastiya’s farming land. Ten farmers were affected, they said, and many of their crops ruined.

For a community that relies heavily on agriculture, this situation threatens much more than just their sense of smell. Other websites reporting on the issue have dubbed it a “bio-war” against Sabastiya.

Ahmad Kayed, a Sabastiya resident, posted photos and video on our Facebook group, showing the sludge streaming through farmland. The sewage had seeped into the groundwater, contaminating the crops in the surrounding area. Beyond the immediate impact to their livelihoods the local farmers are also concerned that this is an intimidation tactic by the settlers in preparation for a further land-grab. “Settlers are trying to spoil as much as they can of Palestinian fields in an attempt to force farmers to desert their lands completely,” Ahmad told Ma’an news.

Sewage channel

Almost two months later, the villagers’ protests have so far fallen on deaf ears and the sewage is still flowing freely. They have begun the process of taking legal action against the settlement but in the meantime there is nothing more they can do to protect their farms and livelihoods, other than to build channels to try and redirect as much of the waste as they can. They also fear reprisals and further aggression from the settlers should they win their legal case or bring media attention to focus on the situation.

It is this helplessness in the face of such provocation that makes living under occupation so difficult for the people of Sabastiya and those of all the other villages in the West Bank who face similar obstacles every day.

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Hanwell Friends of Sabastiya contacted the British Consul in Jerusalem who said he would “look in to it,” but as yet the situation remains unchanged. We’ve also written to our MPs with our concerns that these acts of provocation and human rights violations are on the rise in the Occupied Territories and we encourage you to do the same. Until more international pressure is applied onto the Israeli authorities to intervene swiftly and firmly in such cases, the settlers can continue to act with impunity.

Report by Ella Ryan


Are you a journalist reporting on this situation? If so, we applaud you. Please do get in touch if you’d like more information from us about the situation in Sabastiya.


Olive Tree Planting

In Autumn 2012, HAFSA raised funds to buy 500 olive trees for families in Sabastiya. On December 17th, 400 of these were planted on lands around Sabastiya.

Olive trees are of vital importance for subsistence in Palestine, supporting the livelihood of over 100,000 families across the occupied West Bank. In two years’ time, these olive trees will begin bearing fruit. May they live a long and fruitful life!

Minutes from the 2013 HAFSA AGM


Come to HAFSA AGMs.. you get cake!

Minutes of the second HAFSA AGM

19th January 2013 at St. Thomas Church Hall, Hanwell

Present: Cathy Bjarnason, Martin Eady, Jean Fitzpatrick, Brigitte flock, Marjorie Kelly, Colin Lomas, Simon Quinn, Lynne Ringuet, Andree Ryan, Monika Eady, Thelma Thomas, Denis Hawkins, Sue O’Dell, Maream Shaw, Alphonse Ryan, Brigitte Flock, Steve Craddock, Nihad Khanfar, Gillian Brown, Brigitte Flock, Ann Soo, Mohamed Masharqa,Gill Horsfield, Nichola Lovett, Ahmed Mansur, Sr Rita Syron, Hilde Poltorak, Jan McHugh, Kathy Tomlisnson and Abu Yasser on Skype.

Apologies received: Anna Ringuet, Lynn Knowles, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Anne Marie Fugger, Laura Southern, Elsa Southern, Alan Cripps, Lyn Knowles, Mary Thorold, Kathy Tomlinson, Philippa Mukherjee, Usha Dave, Tanya Solokof/Diaz, Fiona Barakat

Subscription: renewals of £5 were collected and we had 8 new people joining.

Minutes of First AGM: The minutes were accepted. Proposed by Steve Craddock and seconded by Gillian Brown.

Chair’s report: Andree outlined the activities of the past year including matters arising and on-going projects and new ideas. The meeting was positive about the proposal to fund the furnishing of the new guest house in Sebastiya. Jean Fitzpatrick elaborated on the recent meeting she and Maream Shaw had with the MP Virenda Sharma regarding the sewage dumping from the Shave Shomron illegal jewish settlement onto the agriculture land between them and Sebastiya. The report was accepted: Proposed by Martin Eady, seconded by Brigitte Flock

Treasurer’s report: Cathie presented the accounts which had been approved by George Venus. Cathie thanked the members for their generosity and efforts. The accounts were approved. Proposed by Sue O’Dell, seconded by Maream Shaw

Election of managing committee: The members of the outgoing committee that were present were all willing to be re-elected en block: Andree Ryan, Brigitte Flock, Cathie Bjarnason, Colin Lomas, Jean Fitzpatrick, Lynne Ringuet, Martin Eady, Maream Shaw, Marjorie Kelly, and Simon Quinn. Mohamed Masharqa volunteered to join the committee. Proposed by Sue O’Dell, seconded by Monica Eady.

The new committee will meet and elect from its members a chair, vice chair, secretary, treasurer, membership secretary, press officer and anything else that is needed.

Discussion : Members present suggested we become proactive in contacting the BBC about news they do not cover such as the wide spread dumping of sewage and chemicals from illegal Jewish the settlements onto agriculture land lying below the settlements. Abu Yasser spoke to the meeting via Skype thanking us for our support and interest in what is happening in Sebastiya.

After the formal part of the AGM we broke for tea, sandwiches and sharing of a specially made HAFSA birthday cake. This was followed by two short talks. One talk by Jean Ftizpatrick on her 5 week stay in Sebastiya teaching English and one by Colin Lomas on the historical significance of Sebastiya.

Minutes taken by Marjorie Kelly, Committee Secretary

YouTube Videos يوتيوب

Looting the Holy Land (Al Jazeera)

Especially significant for Sebastiya and its ancient ruins/archeological site, over which Palestinians have jurisdiction.


The General’s Son – Miko Peled

Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. Born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family, his grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His Father, Matti Peled, was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and Sinai. Miko’s unlikely opinions reflect his father’s legacy. General Peled was a war hero turned peacemaker. Miko grew up in Jerusalem, a multi-ethnic city, but had to leave Israel before he made his first Palestinian friend, the result of his participation in a dialogue group in California. He was 39. On September 4, 1997 the beloved Smadar, 13, the daughter of Miko’s sister Nurit and her husband Rami Elhanan was killed in a suicide attack. Peled insists that Israel/Palestine is one state—the separation wall notwithstanding, massive investment in infrastructure, towns and highways that bisect and connect settlements on the West Bank, have destroyed the possibility for a viable Palestinian state. The result, Peled says is that Israelis and Palestinians are governed by the same government but live under different sets of laws. At the heart of Peled’s conclusion lies the realization that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace as equals in their shared homeland.