20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
The Dryout

The Palestinian village of Humsa was destroyed by the Israeli Defence Forces, for the sixth time. An Elder woman of Khirbet Humsah al-Foqa washes her face after collecting scattered remains from her demolished house - a thin mattress, a broom, a pot cover, and children's clothing. Two kilometers away from her new house on the fire zone outskirts, in the heat of noon, she asked for my water. Water scarcity distress in the shepherd communities in eastern rural Palestine Geopolitical conflict between Israel and Palestine is manifested various ways on ground - among them, is the systematic drying process of the Palestinian shepherds communities, at the buffer zones between the Palestinian Authority A zones and the Jewish controlled C zones in the Occupied West Bank. In practice, those are the frontiers of the current (and never-ending) border fixing process in the region. In the war of frontiers, water prevention became a weapon to encourage “voluntary departure” of the Palestinians in the arid terrain. The complementary technique of the dryout, is declaration of vast areas of the frontiers as military fire zones. In Israel borders, including the Occupied West Bank - 39% of the country is defined as a military firezone. Within the West Bank firezones are found mostly on its arid eastern side - 940,000 Dunams, which are 17.2% of the West Bank. The combo of the two creates a vital pressure lever on the communities - whose presence became illegal after the declaration of the firezones post the 1967 war. Water delivery infrastructure construction is illegal. Springwater is pumped from the aquifer, decreasing the sprout used to water the flocks. Springs that still sprout are declared as nature reserves, preventing flocks from reaching. Any usage of concrete outside of Jewish settlements is forbidden - making housing construction illegal, as well as maintenance of traditional water collection systems to ancient cisterns. During army training, residents are requested to leave their houses temporarily. Sometimes, they find their water tanks perforated from IDF bullets. On top of this, Jewish outposts function as catalysts. New outposts keep growing in quantity and size, pushing the shepherds in a need to look for further grazing areas. Jewish settlers' attacks on those communities are a matter of routine. The army, traditionally, protects the Jewish settlers

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 04.2021
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Khirbet Humsah al-Foqa, Palestine, State of
Camera: NIKON D850
Copyright: © Matan Golan