Ahlan wa-sahlan fi Yanoun - Welcome to Yanoun

Deep into the Westbank, after having crossed the Qalandya Checkpoint, got off the Bus in Ramallah, where we hired a collective Taxi (Service) to Za’tara Junction, met our driver there, we finally reach Yanoun, our home for the next couple of months.

Agrandir le plan

Some 15 km south east from Nablus, Yanoun has a population of about 80 people and is one of the smallest surviving villages in the Palestinian territory. It is surrounded by the expanding settlement Itamar and its outposts; but its location blocks their expansion towards the Jordan Valley. Therefore, the inhabitants of Yanoun have faced serious settler attacks and harassment since 1996. In 2002, settlers invaded the village and managed to evict the whole population. These events attracted international media interest and after a few days, some families returned to their homes accompanied by Israeli peace activists.

Thanks to the protective presence provided since 2003 by internationals sent by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) on invitation of the village mayor, the villagers get some relief and the last years, settler violence has reduced. However, in 2014, harassment and violence perpetrated by settlers continue to hamper daily life in Yanoun.

In addition to the land gradually confiscated by the settlers, to which the access is completely denied to the villagers, the access of the Palestinian to their land is also restricted due to the threat of settler’s attacks and orders given by the Israeli army. Thus, hundreds of dunams (1 dunam = 1000 m2) of agricultural land remain unused. The land available for grazing the sheep, for growing wheat and barley as well as for almond and olive trees on the valley bottom is approximately 30% of the village’s original territory. Since the population here lives from subsistence agriculture (sheep, wheat, barley, olive trees), the land constitutes their principal livelihood, though due to the confiscations and access limitations, the land does not suffice anymore. Instead of leaving the sheep on the grazing grounds all day, the people lead them out twice a day, but keep them in the shed most of the time. They are forced to buy additional fodder for the animals, an extra expense on already low incomes.

Yanoun Village

The former team also told us that due to the sparse rain this winter, the crops are growing too slowly now, and that the villagers expect to suffer hardships this year.

So, here we are, Team 52 has taken its quarters in the yanouni international house. Protective presence in the village is just one of several tasks; we will soon discover what other jobs are waiting to be done.

For further information:

Read more about Yanoun in the Human Rights Watch’s 2010 Report Separate and Unequal

Read more about EAPPI

See more pictures of Yanoun in the Gallery

*** *** ***
I have been sent to Palestine and Israel by HEKS-EPER and Peace Watch Switzerland as Human Rights Observer in the frame of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the sending organizations. If you like to publish the information contained in this article or disseminate it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communication Officer eappi-co@alqudsnet.com or Peace Watch Switzerland palestine@peacewatch.ch More information about our program can be found on www.eappi.org and www.peacewatch.ch

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.