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Al-Tawana village
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Bloggers get Palestinian village water

Israeli activists hold online campaign to convince authorities to connect village to water supply

Aviel Magnezi
Published: 07.18.10, 23:45 / Israel News

Hundreds of Israelis managed to overcome years of bureaucratic battles in only two and a half months – without ever leaving the house.

 

The viral activists used blogs, emails and social networks in order to pressure authorities to connect a Palestinian village to running water.

 

"We wracked our brains over how to reach people beyond the bureaucracy. We thought about the typical Israeli and how to appeal to him, and then decided to open a blog and act through the internet." Ehud Uziel from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel told Ynet.

 

The group, in cooperation with Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights Foundation, launched a blog entitled 'One action a day', with the aim of getting the Palestinian village of al-Tawana, located on Israeli territory south of Mount Hebron, water.

 

Water pump in village of al-Tawana

 

Aside from the blog, the activists launched social network groups on sites such as Facebook, and called volunteers to apply pressure on different bodies in order to advance the cause.

 

Eventually a group of some 1,000 activists formed, of which between 60 and 200 people participated in the 55 daily actions carried out during the past 11 weeks.

 

As part of their campaign, the activists "bombarded" Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilani, and several MKs with letters relating to the subject.

 

The activists also appealed to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, urging him to connect the village to running water "for the sake of Israel's global PR campaign."

 

Some activists offered creative solutions by filming water faucets and uploading videos, participating in an activism festival, creating a Wikipedia entry and a computer game, and even organizing a group visit to the village.

 

After two and a half months of activity, the tables finally turned. Two of the activists received phone calls from head of the Civil Administration Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, who thanked them for the numerous letters and said the Civil Administration plans on connecting the village to a water supply in the near future.

 

"Truthfully, we didn’t think we would succeed. We simply wanted to raise awareness to one of the village's many problems. We were pleasantly surprised," said Uziel.

 

Despite the optimistic outcome, Uziel said their achievement will not be completed until water is flowing in all the village's faucets.

 

"We have proven that there is a civil democracy in Israel," said Uziel, and noted that they plan to continue their activities in the matter.

 

Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report

 

 

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