W. Bank farm hosts tourists to fend off settlements
STORY: Birdsong and blue skies. But this idyllic Palestinian farm outside Bethlehem is ringed by Israeli settlements.
Farmer Imad Sarras says he lives in fear of settlement encroachment on his land in the occupied West Bank.
His family hosts visitors from around the world, hoping eco-tourism could be key to their survival.
The Sarras farm is surrounded by the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, one of the largest.
"The settlements surround us on all sides. We are the only ones who stayed in this area and were steadfast in it, preserved it, cultivated it, built it, worked on it, and live in it."
An old farm house has been turned into a restaurant.
But access to services is a challenge for Palestinians living close to settlements.
The restaurant relies on solar power because the Sarras farm falls under full military rule and depends on Israel for electricity supply.
Guests experience traditional Palestinian food and culture.
Paluma is from the Netherlands.
"What makes it so beautiful and what makes the atmosphere so .. what I enjoy about the atmosphere as well that I think it's such a beautiful way of resisting against something that's pretty terrible. And then sharing your love for your culture and for your food and also being compassionate and caring and doing it in a sharing way."
Israel’s West Bank settlements were built by successive governments on land captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
More than 400,000 Israelis now live there, with another 200,000 in East Jerusalem.
Palestinians say the settlements make a future state unviable, and most of the world views them as illegal under international law. Israel disputes this.