The “Jews poison wells” theme has resurfaced.
Last year, during a trip to the UK Parliament, our delegation of UNRWA experts was scheduled to meet an MP from the UK Parliament who refused to meet us.
Why? Because the MP had taken a tour of Israel and had learned from his Israeli hosts that, as a matter of policy, Jews poison Arab wells.
The tour the MP had taken was organized by a coalition of Jewish Israeli groups – Btselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, Combatants for Peace and Breaking the Silence.
Our next meeting, at the Board of Deputies of UK Jewry, a similar voice was heard, from a prominent Israeli/British member of the BOD, that, indeed, “Jews poison the wells of Arabs” . That board member had also taken one of those tours with the aforementioned groups, all of whom receive grants from the New Israel Fund and European governments.
This week, the Israeli Knesset Parliament debates proposed legislation which would require political groups which receive more than 50% of their funds from foreign governments to identify which governments were funding them.
If that law passes, funding governments would be held accountable for groups who spread rumors that “Jews poison wells”
Past media reports of the “poison wells” allegation:
– “Board of Deputies treasurer Laurence Brass has said he was horrified at what he witnessed during a visit to a West Bank village, describing it as an “eye-opener”. Mr Brass, who was spending Pesach in Israel, took part in a private capacity in a one-day trip organised by Yachad UK and led by a guide from the anti-occupation Israeli army veterans’ group, Breaking the Silence. His experience, as one of around a dozen Anglo-Jewish participants taken to the Palestinian village of Susiya, was shocking, he said.”
“I was shocked that this type of behaviour goes unchecked by the IDF.” Mr Brass added that the abiding memory of his visit would be “the sight of an old rusty car being dumped down the village well, thus preventing the locals from having fresh water.”
(Board of Deputies treasurer ‘shocked’ by visit to West Bank, By Simon Rocker, May 2, 2014)
Rabbis For Human Rights
– “Susya: A History of Loss” : Acts of settler violence continued to escalate. A routine of violence and blocking access developed – when Palestinians attempted to reach their lands, armed and often masked settlers would set out towards them and alert the security forces. Either the settlers or the security forces would remove the Palestinians from their own lands, despite having no legal justification to do so. RHR has documentation of dozens of complaints filed by Palestinians with the Israel Police regarding violence towards them, trespassing on their lands, vandalism of fields and trees, sabotage of wells and water tanks, poisoning of pastures and wells, and even arson attacks on tents and physical attacks on families in their homes at night.
– “The Origin if the Expulsion: A Brief History of Palestinian Susya”: In June 2001, following the murder of the settler Yair Har-Sinai in the area of Susya, the inhabitants of Susya became the target of a retaliatory action and were expelled yet again. The expulsion was carried out without warning and was exceptionally violent: Caves were destroyed, wells clogged, fields wasted and animals killed. The expulsion was accompanied by violent arrests and beatings. According to the testimonies of inhabitants, some of the perpetrators of expulsion were citizens and not army or police, and there is a suspicion that it was settlers who knew the area and who supervised the work.”
“A petition to the Supreme Court that was filed in 2010, the inhabitants of Palestinian Susya represented by “Rabbis for Human Rights” demanded that settlers violence will be restrained and that they will be allowed access to their lands, enumerated 93 incidents of violence by settlers against Palestinians, some of them by hooded assailants. Since then, there have been many more. The destruction of fields and trees, the sabotage of wells and water tanks, the poisoning of fields of pasture and water wells, the systematic harassment of shepherds and even the setting fire to tents and attacking families in their houses in the dead of night – these are frequent scenes in the lives of the inhabitants of Susya. It should be noted that the police demonstrates an utter incompetence in enforcing the law on the settlers of Susya and its outposts”
– “Civil Administration threatens to demolish most of Susiya village”:
“During the expulsion, the army destroyed residents’ property, demolished caves, and blocked up water holes.”
– “Unfortunately for us, during that time the settlement of Susya was established very close to my family’s land. Army troops threw us out again and again. We would build and plant, and everything would be ruined. In 2001, we were expelled twice. Your Supreme Court ruled that the second expulsion was illegal. We were told it had been a mistake. But the destruction was awful: water wells and caves were destroyed and fields were trampled. We did not give up. We kept living on our land, holding onto what we could. Our story is one of many in the southern Hebron Hills region, and one of thousands across the West Bank.”- Nasser Nawajah (A B/Tselem photographer), in Open Letter to Naftali Bennett
– “Norewigan Trade Union Tells Members That Israel Poisons Wells”
2004-2005 Past Well Poison Allegations
– Press TV News Video
– “Poisoning the village wells” By Amira Hass | Oct. 12, 2004
– “An inspection of the pipes found someone had sabotaged them, stuffing dirty diapers and dead chickens into the main wells. Oxfam financed the repairs but the pipes were repeatedly sabotaged. When the wells were covered with concrete, the openings covered with iron grates, the cement was smashed and the wells once again became a receptacle for trash meant to disable the water system. Twice in September 2002, Israelis shot at Oxfam and village workers trying to repair the system. The work was finally ceased in 2003, when it became evident it was going nowhere. In November 2003, Italian volunteers and villagers once again cemented the open wells closed to prevent trash from being thrown inside. The village celebrated the return of running water. But within a few months, villagers began suffering from liver infections. New examinations of the wells in February and August this year showed the water was still polluted. Now, Oxfam technicians have to check all three wells. Each will be examined separately, two visits apiece. Each visit requires a military escort to protect the workers. That means coordinating with the army. It took two months to arrange the escort for yesterday’s visit to the wells. At this rate, the full examination – not the repairs – will take more than a year. Oxfam worries that the source of pollution is not the wells but the main spring but they find it hard to believe that anyone will allow them to examine whether the sewage from the settlement of Yitzhar is what is polluting the Madama fountain.”
- The Insider, “Jewish Settlers Poison Palestinian Water Supply”
Evil Israeli terrorists and radical Zionist extremists are conducting a long-term and systematic campaign to poison the wells in remote areas of Palestine. Even Israeli police are shocked by their actions. Everyday life is difficult enough for the resilient residents of these arid and war-ravaged lands, but water is essential for their survival — particularly the elderly, the sick, and young children. Many poor palestinians walk for miles through scorching rocky desert to reach their well, and then use what strength remains to carry heavy tubs of cool life-giving liquid back to their families to drink and wash with. *** A Palestinian village in the northern West Bank has appealed for pressure to be put on Israel to end the recurrent poisoning of their only source of water supply by Jewish settlers. Last week, heavily armed settlers from the settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus, vandalised and sabotaged the water supply on which the nearby village of Madama depends. The latest poisoning is the seventh of its kind during the past three years, according to village officials. Yitzhar was established more than 20 years ago on confiscated land belonging to the people of Madama and is inhabited by Talmudic settlers seeking to expel non-Jews from Palestine and Israel. According to Madama’s local council head Ayid Kamal, Yetzhar has always been “a source of provocation, vandalism and organised terror”. “They come in broad daylight and throw filthy materials like diapers and poisonous substances inside the spring’s source, and when we complain to the Israeli authorities, they tell us the army cannot do anything about it. “Kamal said the ultimate goal of the settlers is to force the villagers to leave their land. Last year as many as 12 children in the village were diagnosed with liver infections and many others developed stomach pains as a result of drinking contaminated water. The Yetzhar settlers also burned down standing crops belonging to the villagers, often in full view of the Israeli army. Palestinian villagers, as well as some international aid workers, suspect there is connivance between the settlers and local Israeli army members. The British charity Oxfam had repaired the water system at Madama, covering the natural spring’s mouth with concrete. However, every time new pipes are installed, the settlers smash them and contaminate the spring water by dumping hazardous materials, local residents said.
In two instances, settlers opened fire on Palestinians and foreign aid workers in the area.