constant Israeli attacks on graves and shrines
” The Case of Awarta village “

constant Israeli attacks on graves and shrines <br> ” The Case of Awarta village “
The village of Awarta, Nablus district, is known for its green plains and high hills and long history of Maqamat ( religious shrines and monuments) indicating  its ancient history and authenticity. Awarta village was on the new date of the serial attacks by colonizers on its land and people when a dozen of military vehicles accompanied by 8 bus boarded by at least 350 colonizers from several colonies moved into the village after midnight, 20 January, 2010.
The Israeli soldiers deliberately, in a move to guard the security of the colonizers imposed curfew on the village and then they ascended the roofs of high houses in the village, destroying the contents of those homes and repeating defamatory words against women in those houses. At the same time, the colonizers took it upon themselves to spread across the village, especially in the vicinity of the three shrines:
1.     The place of the seventy Sheikhs adjacent to the cemetery which is located in the center of the village;
2.     The place of the Mufadel (the favorite ) adjacent to the village mosque;
3.     The place of  Azirat located in the southern outskirts of the village and adjacent to the village males’ High School.

Photo 1: Awarta, Nablus: Tombs desecrated by colonizers
The  colonizers attacked and destroyed a number of gravestones without regard to the sanctity and dignity of the dead, and dumped bottles of alcohol and some remnants of food on the graves adjacent to the shrine of the Seventy Sheikhs which was, also, partially burned. In addition to this, the attackers wrote some outrageous statements against the Islamic religion and people of the village on the walls of the profaned tombs.
On the other hand, the colonizers raided the Al Mufadel shrine favorite, where they wrote slogans and graphics offensive to Islam and the people of the village in English and Russian in addition to Hebrew, as well as abusing the martyrs of the village by distorting their photos hanging on the walls of the village houses by adding some outrageous graphics on them, and even the map of Palestine in the middle of The village was not spared as they allocated the sties of some colonies on it and wrote their names in defiance of the feelings of the village population.
Photos 2: Awarta, Nablus: The map of Palestine with Jewish site names on it
Also, the village secondary school for boys became under attack when colonizers broke the school gate to get access to the courtyard for dancing and singing loudly in the centre of the village to scare its citizens.
In an interview with LRC field researcher, Mr. Hani Darawsha, 43 years old, and member of the village local council, said: ‘ For the three shrines which go back to the Mamluk era ( 13-15 century), the Samaritan Jews living in the city of Nablus used to visit them regularly in their religious feasts. After 1987, groups of colonizers began to attack the village from time to time under the protection of the occupation army and in other times on their own under the cover of dark to visit the shrines of the three for allegedly being biblical symbols for them. They claim that Prophet Moses received the Torah from his Lord in the area.  Hence, the colonizers used to break into the village under this rationale, so we are now afraid that the three Muslim shrines become an Israeli outpost and a friction point after the media campaign and allegations of religious extremists’.
Photos 3+4+5+6: Awarta, Nablus: the religious shrines profaned by colonizers
A brief introduction to Awarta village:
The Awarta village is located about 7 km south east of the city of Nablus and it is a historic village and a gateway to the southern hills and mountains of Nablus region. The village is bordered from north by the city of Nablus and the town of Beit Furik, from south by the villages of Bita and Odela, from west by Hawara and from east by the town of Aqraba. The village overlooks more than 12 Palestinian villages and towns in addition to Nablus city and part of the territory of the village is located within the municipal boundaries of Nablus.
Photos 7: location of Awarta village, Nablus
The village area is 15,051 dunums  (1 dunum=1000m2) of which 653 dunums are built up zone, and the rest of the land is fertile agricultural land covered with  olives trees of old Roman species indicating its seniority. The village is, also, famous for growing wheat, barley, legumes. The population of the village was about 5,623 people at the end of  2007 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.  About 2,388 dunums or 15.8% of the village total area were appropriated by the occupation authorities for settlement building and expansion.
The village of Awarta lacks the elements of infrastructure, including a water network despite the fact that the village lies on one of the biggest water aquifer   in the West Bank. To get water, the village citizens totally depend on water harvesting wells and water tankers which are costly for them. Currently, a huge water tank is under construction in the  plain of the village of Rujib to solve the water problem in the area. This project is funded by international humanitarian organizations.
The nearby Itamar colony:
Established in 1984 on the anniversary of the declaration of the Israeli state over land confiscated from the three villages of Awarta, Yanun and Beit Furik.
According to the Foundation for Middle East Peace- Washington,  the colony’s population at the end of 2008 was 785, and its total municipal area was 6036 dunums of which 253 dunums built up zone.
Photos 8: Awarta, Nablus: The colony of Itamar occupying a hill top in Nablus district.

[1] Geographical Information system (GIS) at LRC

Categories: Settlers Attacks