Environment

Despite a deep connection with the land, it gets treated badly by many Palestinians, Israelis too. In many parts of the West Bank, streets and fields are scattered with rubbish. Theres refuse collection once a week in Marda but thats just to collect landfill waste from peoples houses. Outside though, pedestrians, drivers, kids playing, even farmers, just chuck their empty packets on the ground. Many animals are treated badly: birds caged in small spaces to be sold as meat; donkeys toiling in the insane heat carrying people and heavy loads; dead puppies (clearly not treated well) left next to bins in the street, I could go on. On our way to the farm one day we saw that one donkey had given birth. Murad helped the new donkey to its feet and pushed her closer towards her mother so was tied up to a nearby tree but just out of reach. The next day we saw the same donkey, working, but not the infant. As another mouth to feed and a distraction to his working donkey, the owner, an old guy, chucked the new jenny away. This upset Murad, more out of waste than sentiment, but Murad cares. He understands the imposrtant roles animals have. I learnt this early on when some children visited us at the farm and one of them was trying to squash a bug. Murad stopped him and while I could’nt hear what he actually said, it was clear Murad was telling the by that he needed those bugs.

Donkey and her new born
Donkey and her new born

Then theres Israel, the self titled environmentalists, chucking all kind of restrictions and protection laws onto Palestinians in the name of preservation whilst committing all kinds of environmental rights violations: sucking Palestinian land dry of water and selling it back to them at full price; allowing settlements to dump huge quantities of sewage into neighbouring Palestinian fields and villages, damaging buildings, soil and water supplies; poisoning waterways and soil with toxic chemicals; uprooting 1000s of olive trees, trees that are peoples livelihood, trees that have stood since the Romans were here!; building over ancient springs and vital sources of water, affecting eco systems and land irrigation; and then the walls and border gates affecting the migration patterns of an array of species.

No big deal. Just an Olive tree dating back to around Roman times
No big deal. Just an Olive tree dating back to around Roman times
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