Brukin village, located in the central West Bank, in the Salfit district, has been subjected to massive sewage dumping from the illegal Israeli settlements ‘Ariel’ and ‘Brukhin’, which are ‘Jewish-only’ settlements built on stolen land next to the village. The health risks to Palestinians from the sewage water threatens to unleash a massive health crisis in the area as the heat of summer approaches.
The Grassroots Committee Against the Wall claims that the sewage dumping is one of a number of tactics being employed by Israel to "ensure that life along the Wall’s path remains unbearable", adding, "Surrounded by settlements and under the control of an Occupation watchtower surveying the village, Brukin faces land destruction and home demolitions for the construction of the Apartheid Wall all along the northern stretch of its residential areas."
The sewage water from Ariel settlement enters the village from the east. The industrial zone of Brukhin Settlement to the north of Brukin also spreads raw sewage into the village. The waste continues to run into the village since 2005, leading to the pollution of one of the natural springs in Brukin. The situation deteriorates dramatically in the summer when no rain water dilutes the waste water. Together with long-term effects upon the land and damage of natural water supplies, the hot season threatens the health and lives of the villagers.
Sewage runs in the streets between houses attracting pests and insects into the village. As a consequence, skin diseases have spread. Last year, doctors treating cases of skin disease clearly stated in their reports that the problems were caused by insects that are thriving in the sewage water. Placed in this unbearable situation, villagers are appealing to Palestinian institutions, parties and organizations to support them and to struggle together to halt this attack on their village.
Brukin is one of many villages seriously threatened by sewage water from Zionist settlements, industrial zones or military areas. To mention three other examples, the nearby village of Kufr Diek suffers pollution through sewage water from Ale Zahav settlement, whereas in Jenin district villagers in Zububa watch the destruction of their springs from the waste produced by Salem military camp and in Nablus district, the village of Deir Sharaf is suffering from the waste and sewage water coming from Kedumim settlement and a nearby Israeli industrial zone. The destruction induced by sewage hits all aspects of village life including farming and social activities. Medical sources have warned that devastating long-term effects will occur if the dumping practices are not brought to an immediate halt.
For several days, the Israeli military has blocked the only entrances to Brukin and Kufr Diek and the road from these villages to Salfit with earth mounds and rubble. The gate of Qarawa Bani Hassan that dissects north and the southern Salfit district is again closed.
The dozens of small Palestinian farming villages in Salfit district affected by the Ariel settlement bloc (the largest Israeli settlement, consisting of 40,000 people) have suffered in recent weeks from an increase in water cut-offs by Israeli forces, as residents of the Jews-only settlements begin their summer use of air conditioning and swimming pools. Israeli forces control the water sources, and Palestinians have had to walk great distances for drinking water as the water is re-directed to the Jews-only settlements.
Israeli forces have also been dumping wild pigs and snakes in the Salfit district lately, which have resulted in a number of farmers and their children being attacked and injured.
According the the Grassroots Committee Against the Wall, "despite the conditions they are being subjected to, villagers have pledged their resolve and determination to remain steadfast to their lands, lives and communities."