The Palestinian leadership condemned the Israeli construction of the ‘eastern Wall’ which will completely enclose the West Bank within a de-facto open-air prison.
The construction of the eastern section of the Wall began in earnest this week, after a year-long process of disenfranchisement of Palestinians who live and work in the Jordan Valley.
Says Israeli editorialist Amira Haas: "The Palestinians have disappeared from the valley, aside from a few thousand who live there plus some to whom Israel agrees to give daily entrance permits for various reasons. It is not even possible to include the approximately 35,000 residents of Jericho among those remaining, because the Israel Defense Forces forbids them to travel northward of Area A, where they live.
"Thousands of residents of the neighboring towns and villages in the northern West Bank, which are sometimes only a few kilometers away, are absent from the valley, even though they have relatives and friends, privately owned land, houses, commercial ties and jobs there. Also missing are the Palestinian cars that in the not so distant past used to transport these absentees. Missing as well are the thousands of potential travelers to Jordan, the vacationing families and school students. These potential customers are absent from the colorful stalls at the crossroads.
"The army swears that these prohibitions bear no relation to the politicians’ declarations that the valley will remain in Israel’s hands forever. But in practice, they are helping to empty it of Palestinians, in preparation for its official annexation to Israel."
With the so-called ‘Quartet for Mid-East Peace’ (U.S., U.K., European Union and Russia) voicing its outspoken opposition to a democratically-elected Hamas-led Palestinian legislature, Palestinian officials are outraged that they have chosen to remain silent on this blatant violation of the ‘roadmap to peace’ by the state of Israel.
The Palestinian Authority’s Executive Committee, in a meeting Wednesday, urged the Quartet, which issued the ‘Road Map to peace’, to assume its responsibilities toward the peace process, and require Israel to cease its expansion into the Jordan Valley.
The Executive Committee pointed out that the continuation of colony expansion in Jerusalem, the building of the Apartheid Wall and isolating of the Jordan Valley, annihilate any chance to achieve a just and permanent peace in the Middle East, as "the Israeli plan transforms the Palestinian territories into isolated cantons that prevent the establishment of an independent state".
Palestinian and Israeli officials met in Jericho Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Israeli closure of the Jordan Valley to Palestinians — Palestinian officials termed this closure ‘collective punishment’ of the Palestinian people. But the meeting ended badly when Israeli officials did not respond to the Palestinian concern over the closure, instead demanding that the Palestinian Authority re-arrest 38 detainees released last week.