‘We will not leave, we have no other place to go to’ said Atta Jaber, 43 from the village of Al-Bak’a in a sign of stead-fasting in his town despite the hard daily life they are facing.

600 people live in this village, near Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, which is trapped between two settlements and an Israeli by-pass-road.  There are around 27 settlements and a similar number of outposts in the Hebron area, according to the Land Defense Committee.

The settlements of Keryat Arba and Kharseena round the village from one side, while the settlers’ road (route 60) rounds the other side.

‘Al-Bak’a can nto be reched by car from Hebron although it is a short distance, but the main road is closed since the beginning of the second Intifada, it is only a foot-road now,’ says Atta.

To go to the village from Hebron, one has to go to Halhoul, then go through the fields around Halhoul, which is very much longer than the regular route.

‘We go 16 Kilometers instead of 2, and this means that we have to pay more,’ said Atta.

Comparing the entrance of the village with the entrance of the nearby Keryat Arba settlement, Atta said, ‘The entrance of the village is dusty and uneven, while the gate of the settlement is paved with some green tall trees and guards armed with machine guns.

On the way to the village, one could see the grapes fields along the road, most of them are not sold because of the inability to move freely and reach the markets.

The village is very old; the stones of the houses are yellow.  Most of the villagers have built barns small coups for their sheep and chicken.  The animals’ smell is mixed with the smell of the smoke coming out of the hand made ovens, as they can not rely on electricity.

There is no clinic or a doctor in the village. The moment an ambulance enters the village, the women rush to it with their babies to be examined.

Farid Abu Oudeh, 43, said the Israeli military warned him that they will demolish his house claiming that he built it without a permit.

Abu Oudeh appealed to the court several times with no use.

He built the first floor in 1989, and added another floor in 1991 when his son got married.  He spent all his savings of his work in Israel as a construction worker in building this house.

He can barely pay the lawyer to stop the demolition order.  Abu Oudeh is unemployed now because he is unable to go to Israel to work.  He does not have a permit, besides, he has some health problems.  He said ‘the only goal they want to achieve by destroying my house is to force me t leave the village, because they want to expand the nearby settlements.’

The villagers have many stories to tell about harassments by the Israeli settlers and soldiers.  Once they allow a wedding car to pass, but stop all the other cars of the accompanying the couple for hours, another time the settlement guards stop the workers who are going back to the village for several hours in the sun or the cold weather, and many other stories.

The villagers also complain about the lack of drinking water in the village.  The villagers argue, ‘If Israel claims it is responsible for this area, and punish us if we build houses without their permits, they also should be responsible to provide the minimum requirements of services, including water and electricity.’

The Israeli authorities damaged the main water pipeline when they built the settlers road that connects Kharsina with Keryat Arba in the mid-eighties.

‘The only way we get water is by a hole that we made in the main water pipeline that feeds the settlements.  The Israelis do not even recognize that we exist in this area unless we make what they call ‘a violation’,’ said Oudeh.

Written by Arabs48 news website