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PM Salam Fayyad joins Qarawat Bani Hassan protest
By Jonathan Pollak
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
30 March 2010
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Today over 200 Israelis, Palestinians and internationals demonstrated near the Ein Entweteg Spring in the West Bank village of Qarawat Bani Hassan to mark the annual Palestinian `Land Day.` Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Salam Fayyad joined the solidarity protest, which started at around 10 AM and lasted until approximated 12:30 PM.

Qarawat Bani Hassan is a Palestinian town in the West Bank Salfit Governorate, located thirty kilometers southwest of Nablus. The town is home to roughly 4,000 people, most of them refugees from Kufr Bara. 89% of the village`s land, including the Ein Enwetef spring, is in Area C, under complete Israeli control, and is in constant threat of annexation and settlement expansion.

Israeli settlers have been building the Havat Yaair settlement outpost on a hilltop above the the Ein Enwetef spring since 2003 on land belonging to Palestinians from the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan. The Israeli settlers and military regularly prevent Palestinians from accessing the area and since December 2009 the settlers have made repeated attempts to begin construction at the site of the spring.

The Ein Enwetef spring traditionally served Palestinians residents of Qarawat Bani Hassan and neighboring villages as a source of water for both agriculture and herding. Herding, a major source of livelihood in the Salfit region for decades is threatened with extinction by limited access to traditional water sources, contamination of local springs by raw sewage dumped by Israeli settlements and restrictions on movement in the area.

Ein Enwetef is one of dozens of fresh water springs across the West Bank to which Palestinian access is denied or limited.

Land Day, March 30, is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of events in 1976. In response to the Israeli government`s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Arab citizens were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others arrested.

For more information: Jonathan Pollak 054-632-7736 or 059-836-1638

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