April 9, 2013

Take action: Palestine agricultural village threatened


Help save a small Palestinian village called Wadi Foquin.
In the photo here, Yusef Manasra, an elder in this West Bank Palestinian village, overlooks the historic dwelling place of his family. Directly across the village on the southwest hillside is the settlement of Betar Illiit. The illegal Israeli settlement now boasts a population of more than 40,000 and is built mostly on land stolen from Wadi Foquin and surrounding villages. 

(Watch this powerful video about the devastating impact that illegal Israeli settlements are having on Wadi Foquin.)

In addition to continued land confiscation for the expansion of the settlement, raw sewage and limestone runoff from settlement construction has badly damaged the rich agricultural produce and natural water springs in the village, threatening to make the village uninhabitable. 

The Friends of Wadi Foquin has been supporting programs and activities for community empowerment and survival.  But because of the accelerated expansion of the settlement and planned construction of the  wall -- and the clear sense that the clock is ticking on the village's future -- we have been asked to raise awareness in our communities regarding the urgency of the situation. 

Our advocacy campaign calls on the Lantos Human Rights Commission (LHRC) to schedule a public briefing to address the human rights violations taking place in the village, including land rights, water rights, food production, transportation and freedom of movement.

The Israeli government has already taken 94% of the village's land, and residents continue to receive more land confiscation orders for the construction of the apartheid wall on the northwest side of the village. The planned route of the wall will cross the green line and take even more land from the village. In addition flying checkpoints restrict freedom of movement in and out of the village and make it very difficult for the residents to travel for work or school or to visit family.  

The Friends of Wadi Foquin is a partnership formed with the village in August 2009, and we have been invited by the Lantos Human Rights Commission (LHRC) staff to submit a proposal to schedule a briefing on the human rights abuses in Wadi Foquin. Your Member of Congress can influence what issues appear before the LHRC, and they need to hear from you about the intolerable situation for the villagers in Wadi Foquin. 

The Co-Chairs of the LHRC are Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) and Rep.  Frank Wolf (R-VA), and it is important that they hear from people across the country who are concerned about this issue. 

Sincerely,
Please email your Members of Congress and call the Co-Chairs of the Commission and urge them to hold a briefing about the devastating impact of Israeli settlement activity on Palestinians in Wadi Foquin.


Rev. Michael Yoshii - Chair, Friends of Wadi Foquin
Jean Hart - Advocacy Chair, Friends of Wadi Foquin
Kira Azzam - Staff Coordinator, Friends of Wadi Foquin

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