West Bank refugee children tell Governor Deval Patrick: ‘Don’t be a partner with Israel in killing us’

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 7 Comments
Palestinian children fill jars and bottles from a pipe transporting water from a village spring in the village of Dar al-Hatab near the West Bank town of Nablus (Photo: Getty Images)

Palestinian children fill jars and bottles from a pipe transporting water from a village spring in the village of Dar al-Hatab near the West Bank town of Nablus (Photo: Getty Images)

When he learned from Massachusetts residents with West Bank ties that Governor Deval Patrick was leading a large trade delegation to Israel last month with water as a key focus, 15-year-old Ahmad had a message for the Governor.

“I don’t know what kind of work you are doing with Israel over water but I’ll tell you that you are supporting the occupation and violating human rights.  Do you know that Israel steals most of the water and leaves almost nothing for us?  Do you know that we don’t have enough water to take showers in the summer, to clean the house, to clean our clothes, and sometimes we don’t have enough water or clean water to drink because Israel doesn’t care about us.

“We are not asking you to help us with water but at least don’t be a partner with Israel in killing us.  Maybe you should come to visit us while you are in Israel to see for yourself.”

Ahmad, whose full name is being withheld from this post for fear of retaliation by the Israeli army, is one of several Palestinian refugee children who have written to Governor Deval Patrick describing the struggles of their families to get sufficient water to meet their basic needs. 

Those letters are being delivered to the Governor by members of the Boston Alliance for Water Justice, a group formed by individuals from various Greater Boston organizations who came together last year to express their concern about the ‘Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership Water and Clean Energy Track’ that was formed after Governor Patrick’s 2011 trade mission to Israel. 

The letters from the West Bank children underscore why Israel is being charged with “water apartheid.”  

Sarah of Bait Jibreen refugee camp in Bethlehem City writes that the camp is “facing a huge problem with water due to Israeli racist policy against us here in Palestine.  Water didn’t come to our house for over 20 days now, and we are close to finishing the water in the tanks on our rooftop.  The camp has hundreds of water tanks on the top of houses….The water is not clean, and there is not much of it for everyone in the camp.  Children are getting sick because the tanks are not clean.”

She continues: “All what we need is some equality in distributing the water that Israel controls.  Instead of stealing our water and giving it to Jewish settlements and leaving almost nothing for us in the summer, Israeli settlements should be removed and we should control our own water.  I know that Israel with a full support from the US will keep stealing our water and land, but that doesn’t mean we should keep quiet and you should support these violations of human rights by coming here to collaborate with Israel on water technology.”

Sundus, a 14-year-old refugee from Aida Camp in Bethlehem, writes to Governor Patrick that in the summer they only get water “once every 10 days, once every month, and sometimes once every two months…when the water comes, we use a pump to push it up to the third floor to fill the tanks.  The tanks and water pipes are rusty because water does not run in them every week.  Lately we found out that bacteria grow inside these tanks and pipes causing sickness among young people.”

Hala, a 16-year-old refugee from Bait Jibreen camp, informs Governor Patrick that “right now, water didn’t come to our house in the camp for over 25 days.  Me and my brothers and sisters bring water with bottles from a small water resource near the camp waiting for Israel to give the Palestinian Authority water so that the PA can pump the water to us.  However, water comes for a short time because Israel gives us a little bit of water each time.  But this is our water that they steal from us.”

Her letter goes on: 

“It is summer now and we really struggle with water.  We advise you to rethink your work with Israel because you are supporting a state that is killing us in so many ways.  When I see a settler in Gilo Settlement near us enjoying the swimming pool, green areas and a shower everyday and in the refugee camp we don’t get enough water to drink because this settler is using my water, I got angry.  I even got angry when I hear that people from outside are coming to help them steal our water making our lives even harder.”  

Alaa’ from the Aida Refugee camp directed a message not to the Governor but to “all Americans”:

“We know that you support Israel and you’ll never support us,” Alaa’ writes, “except a few of you who believe in our rights as humans.  All what we ask you to do is to educate yourselves a little bit about what Israel is doing to us in terms of killing, stealing our lands, demolishing our homes, and of course stealing our water.  They do all of that and more with a huge help and support from you.  We don’t care if you support them, but don’t kill us because we have done nothing to harm you.

“As you people say, have a good day.”

(Image: Visualizing Palestine)

(Image: Visualizing Palestine)

7 Responses

  1. ritzl
    June 23, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Great letters. Sincere and factual.

    Is there a hashtag for this effort?

  2. amigo
    June 23, 2014, 12:58 pm

    “The water is not clean, and there is not much of it for everyone in the camp. Children are getting sick because the tanks are not clean.”

    Where in your holy book does it condone the Ethnic cleansing of your neighbours.

    Does your god demand that you refuse to share water with his children.

  3. Kay24
    June 23, 2014, 1:31 pm

    Excellent move by the Boston Alliance for Water Justice. In fact it was good timing.
    Now let us see if the Governor, who either is totally ignorant about the water control and thieving by the occupiers, or is pretending things are peachy over there, so that he can continue this unholy alliance with a serial thieving nation, will do the RIGHT thing for humanity, and end this shameless loyalty for Israel, like his fellow politicians. I wish the others who have the right to speak on behalf of occupied people, and especially children, who are in such a vulnerable and weak position, spoke out, and made an effort to save these children from a greedy monster.

  4. just
    June 23, 2014, 2:22 pm

    What a great initiative and wonderful letters!

    This one brought tears of anger to my eyes:

    ““We know that you support Israel and you’ll never support us,” Alaa’ writes, “except a few of you who believe in our rights as humans. All what we ask you to do is to educate yourselves a little bit about what Israel is doing to us in terms of killing, stealing our lands, demolishing our homes, and of course stealing our water. They do all of that and more with a huge help and support from you. We don’t care if you support them, but don’t kill us because we have done nothing to harm you.

    “As you people say, have a good day.””

    I support you and the Palestinian people! I do not support Israel as it has devolved. I want all Americans to see the truth– starting with my Government. I want you to live free as you were meant to, and to have many good days ahead!

    Thanks Nancy. Get to work Governor Patrick– have you heard of BDS? Try it!

  5. jdc2408
    June 23, 2014, 7:43 pm

    Hi there,
    I am relatively new to this site, having been reading articles here daily for approximately 6 months. I am very appreciative of the contributors, that being the authors and commenters. It’s great to see that there are many others and many other Americans that are waking up to the reality in the OPT’s. Of course, I understand that this occupation and the crimes that go along with that has been going on for a very long time and sadly, while there are many Americans waking up to these facts, it is also quite clear that there are far too many that are uninformed. As a resident of Connecticut, USA, I value my freedom and right to self determination(to what extent that does exist anymore) and want to see nothing less than the end of the brutality of the continuous occupation in the territories. It’s utterly disgusting to me the reality of why this continues is primarily because of our elected officials here in the US and those representing the US at the UN. I am 31 years old and have come across this information(the reality in the OPT’s) through my own curiosity only in the past few years and I no longer can look at American politics the way I once did. I do not believe in the system the way that I once did because of the way the narrative is shaped here in our “free” media. I could continue to ramble but I wanted to say thank you to all of those who contribute to this site and the growing list of those doing work similar to this one. Thank you all and continue the fight for what is right for the Palestinian people!!!! I look forward to continue reading and contributing however I can, and informing those that are less informed than myself.

    • just
      June 24, 2014, 6:52 am

      A big, warm welcome to you!

    • Kay24
      June 24, 2014, 8:31 am

      Welcome JDC, you will find many like minded commenters here, and just like you, I was heartened by it. I do learn a lot from them, get interesting links, and just for your amusement, you can see hasbara types, spew their nonsense, and get a good tongue-lashing by those who are able to set them straight so easily! Heh.

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