08/31/2013, 00.00
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Living in trees and caves, the Palestinians fight the stranglehold of Israel

In East Jerusalem, police carry out forced expropriations and demolitions . Meanwhile, the policy of settlements continues financed by the government itself. The Palestinian Territories will not yield to intimidation and will live in any conditions rather than abandon their land .

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Israeli grabbing of the Occupied Territories is pushing the Palestinians to build their houses in trees and in caves. While the settlement policy encouraged by Tel Aviv advances, local sources report that for the Arabs it is impossible to obtain permits. "We want to build but the authorities there forbid it - says a young entrepreneur in Bethlehem - if we can not build on our land, we will build our homes in the trees."

That's how Mazen Saadeh , who owns a small farm B&B in Beit Jala , managed to circumvent the dictates of the Israeli authorities to avoid his hard work being destroyed. "Usually - he says - if we build even one centimeter of our home Israel comes and destroys the entire building , it is difficult to go on like this ." Thanks to this loophole, however, the cooperative Hosh Jasmin has had the opportunity to expand and become a business model in the context of an area pressed by the Israeli military presence . The rooms on the trees are rented to foreign tourists and Palestinians, who can make use of a restaurant and buy organic products . "It's a wonderful way to resist - says Saadeh - so you can restore some life to area C".

In 1967, when at the end of the Six Day War, East Jerusalem was occupied by Israeli troops , a massive colonization process began that involved thousands of Israelis . More than 40 years later, the Israeli population of East Jerusalem is nearly 200 thousand units. Area C , the most populous of the three territorial sections that divide the West Bank , includes the eastern half of the Holy City and is home to over 400 thousand Palestinians.

Over the last 10 years, Israel has demolished 448 Arab homes, leaving some 1,800 people homeless . Since the beginning of 2013, at least 30 houses were destroyed in the eastern suburbs of Jerusalem, but although the expropriations and forced demolitions continue with regularity , the Palestinians in Area C are are refusing to leave the territory . "We will stay here and we will patiently bear it - says Khalid Zir , father of 5 children who are forced to live in a cave - at the cost of suffering from the sun, rain or snow , we will stay here."


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