26 January 2011

Ride for Palestine 2011

The Situation

There has been a land-grab of historic proportions. More than half a million Israeli settlers are now occupying land illegally: most of them are in the West Bank.

There is a photograph on the Ride for Palestine blog which is taken in the settlement of "Ariel". In Spring 1978 this did not exist. Now it is home to around 20,000 settlers. This settlement is not the work of religious fundamentalists, though the majority are. The settlements are expanding at 5-6% p.a. as a result of Israeli government policy. In this photograph you see the swimming pool and the green lawns of Ariel in the foreground and the arid land of the native Palestinian people beyond.

Obviously water is one of the most precious natural resources. It is distributed as follows: Settlers 1,450 cu.m. per year, Palestinians 83. The lawns and swimming pool say it all!

Agricultural produce is the most important product arriving in the UK from the land that was Palestine. Sometimes, as with Barkan, Yarden and Palwin wines, it's certain that it's from a settlement. In other cases the settlement produce is mixed with that from 'Israel' and labelled as coming from Israel. Other times, as recently, the deception is unbelievable; dates were labelled as coming from South Africa!

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Archbishop Desmond Tutu