A Call to Protect the Village of Kfar Malik:
Combatants for Peace is a movement of Israelis and Palestinians who had taken an active part in the violence, have since renounced violence in all its forms, and are currently engaged in nonviolent activism demanding peace, freedom and dignity for both peoples.
In recent years we have conducted hundreds of joint activities: tours, house meetings, lectures, protests, marches, building projects, and more. In these events we call for an end to the occupation. We call for a sweeping resistance to all forms of violence on both sides, and we recognize the partners for Peace on the other side. Our movement was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 and 2018.
As people who operate on the Palestinian street almost daily, we bear witness to the common occurance where established settlements establish small “outposts” (often bearing their same name) out to the surrounding lands in order to take control of land and its natural resources (including water, building materials, pastures, olive groves and farm land). These outposts segregate the Palestinian population and drive them off of their land, therefore expanding the settlement and its control of both land and resources.
Kfar Malik is an important village. It is located northeast of Ramallah, and hosts about 3,000 inhabitants, including many leaders and public figures relative to its size. Kfar Malik and the neighboring villages of Turmus Aya, Merrier and Abu Falach, are surrounded by several settlements: Kochav ha’Shachar, Rimonim and Michmash. Kfar Malik and its neighbors have been subjected to regular attacks by settlers for many years, but in the last seven months these attacks on people and the theft of land/resources has increased significantly.
Palestinian inhabitation of the village has been documented for several centuries. Kfar Malik’s legally owned land extend between Kfar Malik and Jericho, and while the land isn’t densely populated, it is used for both farming and grazing. There are also several springs and significant water holes on this land.
The plundering of Kfar Malik began in the early of 1970 with the establishment of the settlement Kochav Hashahar, as well as several other neighboring settlements. An Israeli operated quarry was also established on the village land (without compensation to its owners). Contrary to international law, Israel, the land occupier, profits from the natural treasures situated on the private property of the locals. In addition, the exit to the village, extending towards its grazing and farmland land is often closed by the Israeli army.
In recent months, the efforts by settlers of Kochav Hashahar have intensified. They built two new outposts on Palestinian land and have also taken over a spring that is used by local Palestinian villagers for irrigation. The spring also serves as a major water supplier for the areas surrounding Ramallah.
Kfar Malik leaders approached us, asking if we could work together to remove these two illegal outposts and ensure the Palestinians rights to their own land and water supply.
This move, along with the villagers’ desire to include Israelis in their struggle, is a brave and a rare act in these days when Israeli-Palestinian joint action is condemned on both sides. We gladly responded to their call.
We arranged a joint planning team, which included the leadership of Combatants for Peace as well as village leaders. Two main demonstrations have taken place so far. The first was a demonstration near the spring, where we marched from the village and attempted to block the road in protest. The second was a joint interfaith prayer service with religious leaders from the three major religions in the area: Rabbis, Imams and Church leaders, all leading prayers together.
Hundreds of protesters attended the events, and the principles of nonviolence were strictly upheld by the activists, even when faced with a brutal response by the army and the police. The army responded with stun grenades, skunk cannons, and massive amounts of tear gas. Activists on both sides were beaten severely, and two Combatants for Peace leaders were shot in the leg with rubber bullets.
At present, various actions are being planned. We are launching our campaign from several angles: filing a court case, creating a media presence and continuing joint civil-disobedience on the ground. We are determined to continue until these two outposts are evacuated, and the violence and land theft has ceased.
We urge you to take part in this struggle and join us in stopping the process of creeping annexation and ethnic cleansing.
Please let us know your every action, so that we echo it here in our circles. Together we can – and will -protect the people of Kfar Malik.
You are welcome to Contact Us at any time. Thank You for your support!
Jamil Qassas, Palestinian General Coordinator of Combatants for Peace
Tuly Flint, Israeli General Coordinator of Combatants for Peace