Thursday, October 23, 2008

Al Aqaba: A Village Theatened For Demolition

Today, we traveled north of Nablus to visit the small village of Al Aqaba. Al Aqaba is one of the few Palestinian villages in the West Bank in what is known as "Area C" which means that it is subject to full military and civil control by the Israeli Army.  There are only 300 people still living in the village and 35 of the 45 buildings and homes in the village have been issued notices of demolition, meaning that the Israeli military authority can demolish and almost wipe out the town at any moment.  We met with the courageous and strategically brilliant Mayor, Sami Sadeq and Rawhia Sadeq, director of the Kindergarten and Women's Sewing Cooperative.  Together, they have helped bring in significant international funding to build a working textile factory and a school building, as well as obtaining funds from the Palestinian Authority to build up the village's infrastructure.  By creating "facts on the ground" of a living and working village, they are resisting the demolition threat.  Paradoxically, the textile factory, is contracting with Israeli companies for the materials that it turns into clothes, the products are shipped back to Israel and a label saying "Made in Israel" appears on the clothing and is sold under an Israeli label. As with everything in Palestine, things are very complicated.

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