West Bank Village Struggles to Survive
Israel wants a national treasure destroyed.
by Stephen Lendman
Batir is special. Its heritage is longstanding. It's been that way for centuries. It's one of Palestine's most beautiful villages.
It's built around natural spring water. It's dotted by wells and reservoirs. Traditional agriculture is its way of life. Villagers want it kept that way.
Spring water irrigates Batir's gardens. They made village produce famous. Preserving it is vital. It's too important to lose.
In 1948, Batir was on the front line of Israel's War of Independence. Green Line separation divides its ancestral lands. Its residents were the only Palestinians allowed to cultivate them inside its post-war border.
For decades it struggled to survive. Israeli land theft and development threaten it.
Israel's Separation Wall is Exhibit A. Constructing it threatens traditional Batir agriculture. Its route isn't yet finalized. If built as planned, Batir's way of life will end.
One farmer spoke for others, saying:
"It is a tragedy for all farmers and all the residents of Batir village. Most of the residents are farmers and depend on these green lands."
"They depend on farming the Batir eggplant which is famous in the Palestinian lands. Also we have other vegetables such as beans, cauliflower, and pepper."
Israel's Separation Wall "affects us. If only you knew how much it will destroy our lives and land. We do not know how we will live afterwards."
"Our life is attached to this land. It is the source of our honor. We will never give it away no matter what happens."
Israel's Nature and Parks Authority CEO Shaul Goldstein agrees. He opposes Israel's plan.
"Israel has the right to defend itself," he said. "We think we can do it with electronic devices, closed circuit cameras, and radars, not by a physical barrier, not a fence, not a wall, nothing."