Saturday, August 07, 2010

Come Ye To The Water

This past week the internet was full of people commenting in the above video which shows a West Bank Palestinian father being arrested while his young son cries. Most commentators are moved by the crying boy's tears and his hysterical cries, and by the seeming callousness of the Israeli soldiers doing the arrest.

But that is not the issue. After all, a murdered young son might cry in the same way.

The real injustice here is that the father was arrested for stealing water! And the reason he was moved to steal the water is the un-equal water distribution policy that that the Israeli government has instituted on the West Bank. And that it was the hottest day of the summer, in what has been an unusually hot and dry year in Israel/Palestine.

As Noam Sheizaf writes in his blog Promised Land:
Israel has constructed water pipes in the area, but they only serve the army and the settlers. The Palestinians are forced to drive to the closest town, and buy their water in tanks over there. They end up paying 10 times the price I pay in Tel Aviv. And the farmers in South mount Hebron are the poorest of the Palestinian population. They live in tents, some even in caves. They used to have water holes in which they stored rain waters, but access to their fields and to many of the holes in them is denied by the army and the settlers.

With no other option, some farmers were forced to use unauthorized connections to the Israeli water system, running just a few meters from their tents. The Israeli media is calling this “stealing water”.

I though of this as I sat in synagogue today listening to the Haftatah, and Isaiah's word's
"Ho, every one who thirsts, come ye to the water."
How far we have strayed from the prophet's vision of Jerusalem Rebuilt.


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