Saturday, June 26 2010 cleaning a well in Bir al-‘Id

The hamlet of Bir al-‘Id lies on the hillside between the outposts of Mitzpeh Yair and Havat Talia. Its inhabitants suffered for years from repeated bullying by the army and the settlers.  The villagers were twice evicted from their homes: once in 1999, when the area was declared a firing zone, and again in 2000 by threats of attacks by he settlers. The long struggle, together with the residents, on the site and in the law-courts, bore fruit in November 2009. Only  then 2 families (out of the original 400 residents) returned to their tents and caves. In spite of this achievement, life is not easy in Bir al-‘Id: since their return the residents are exposed to violence from the settlers and attempts by the army to prevent them from using the dirt track leading to the village.  A demolition order was issued on all the buildings of the village (including tents, caves and toilets), a constant threat to the continuity of life there. The only source of electricity is a small solar panel, far from sufficient for the needs of the residents. In addition, there is no running water.

The lack of water is a serious problem which requires one of two solutions: bringing water from Yata, an expensive operation with complicated logistics, or the refurbishing of existing cisterns around the village.

And so, to minimize the reliance on bringing water from outside, we girded our loins on this Saturday for the task of cleaning one of the village’s large cisterns. In contrast to the attempt last December to clean the cistern (when the army decided that the supply of water to Bir al-‘Id was a security risk and declared the village a closed military area) this time the army decided not to stop us. Scrambling in sticky mud for several hours was no joke, but this Saturday was the successful opening of the task of cleaning the cistern.

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