In her photo-blog “Touching Photographs”, Margaret Olin documents her visit to the south Hebron hills on May 5, 2018, on what she calls “one of the most depressing days I have spent in south Mount Hebron” – following a massive demolition spree by the Israeli military in the so-called 918 Firing Zone on May 2, 2018, in which 10 residential structures, 3 animal pens, and 3 water systems were demolished, and 4 energy systems were confiscated. Daily tasks “become much harder to do because of the lack of clean water and electricity. A refrigerator that no longer has electricity needs to be emptied and cleaned, most of the food discarded and the containers washed. And scarce water that can now only be drawn and carried from a cistern, makes washing dishes a challenge.”
Amira Hass in Ha’aretz: “On October 3, a team from Comet-ME, which had built the hybrid system, reinstalled the panels and reconnected them to the rest of the system, after they were released unconditionally from the Civil Administration warehouses in Gush Etzion. The circumstances of the matter, i.e., the reason the village even needed this hybrid system to begin with, is that for decades the Civil Administration has been turning down its requests to connect to the electricity grid.
Ylenia Gostoli of TRT World: “In Jubbet adh Dhib, I’tidal breathes a sigh of relief that she no longer has to rely on an expensive, polluting and loud generator for electricity which costs roughly 1,200 euros per month for two hours of electricity a day. Now children can watch TV programmes and study in the evening, while medicines and food can be stored in refrigerators, and households can receive a steady supply of tap water. As I’tidal puts it, ‘We can eat meat and chicken.’”
Update, October 4, 2017
We are pleased to announce that, following concerted legal and diplomatic efforts, we have successfully retrieved the equipment from the micro-grid in Jubbet a-Dhib, which was seized by the Civil Administration on June 28, 2017.
As of today, the system has been reinstalled in its entirety, and power restored to the community of 160 women, children, and men.
We would like to take a moment to thank our partners at the Netherlands Foreign Ministry for their untiring diplomatic efforts, our legal counsel Attorney Michael Sfard and his office for writing a powerful legal and humanitarian petition, social anthropologist Shuli Hartman for contributing her indispensable expert opinion on the repercussions of the confiscation of the system for the community, the Comet-ME team for the lightning quick operation to restore power, and above all the people of Jubbet a-Dhib and in particular the Women’s Council, who have weathered this most difficult summer with dignity and persistence.
Seizure of micro-grid in Jubbet a-Dhib, June 28, 2017
At 8 am on Wednesday June 28, 2017, the Israeli military entered the village of Jubbet a-Dhib in Area C in the Bethlehem district — without prior warning and without having issued stop-work orders beforehand — and confiscated a large part of the Comet-ME solar energy micro-grid that has been powering the village since November 2016.
During the action, the Civil Administration (ICA) confiscated 96 solar panels (Canadian Solar 315 Wp), one solar inverter (SMA STP 25000TL-30), and three SMA Sunny Island inverters (SMASI 8.0H). ICA workers also caused considerable damage, both to the solar panels and to the electricity room – breaking some of the panels, cutting many electricity and communication cables, and ripping the components off the walls of the electricity room – with the clear intention of preventing the future use of the system.
The value of the confiscated material is estimated at 40,000 euro, but it will only be possible to gauge the actual damage to the components themselves once they are retrieved and can be examined. This project was funded by the Netherlands Foreign Ministry.
Osie Adelfang’s blog post and slide show for Homer Micro-Grid News and Insights about Comet-ME’s micro-grid in the village of Jeeb al-Dheeb: “Unlike energy poverty in the developing world, geography plays no part in Jeeb al-Dheeb’s situation, which is created wholly by politics. The reality for Palestinians living in areas designated “Area C” is a lack of infrastructure and basic services accorded nearby Israeli settlements. Providing power to Palestinians living in “Area C” is Comet-ME’s mission.”
Osie Adelfang of Homer Microgrid News & Insight writes about off-grid renewable energy initiatives in the Palestinian territories, with a special focus on Comet-ME’s work.
Zafrir Rinat, Haaretz, November 21, 2016: “The off-grid efforts of Comet-ME, which must navigate a politically charged environment, were discussed earlier this month by the organization’s co-founder, Elad Orian, at the Israel Climate Change Conference held at Tel Aviv University.”