Recent Israeli attacks on Palestinian water resources have been making life impossible for Jordan Valley residents, say human rights groups working in the area.
On Monday, Occupation forces handed Mu’ayad Abed al Ra’oof Hreash a military order announcing the demolition of the agricultural water reservoir that allows him to cultivate his land. Mu’ayad Hreash’s land is located in the North West part of Bardala in the northern Jordan Valley. Israeli forces built the Apartheid Wall only 200 meters from the reservoir that, with a capacity of 300 cubic meters, irrigated thirty dunums of cultivated land and a series of green houses.
This military order was only one of many cases through which the Occupation has made life in the Jordan Valley impossible for Palestinians. In addition to the large scale demolition of homes, shops and agricultural buildings, a number of checkpoints close the area from the rest of the West Bank. Confiscated land and the expansion of military zones annex more Palestinian land daily.
The reality on the ground was reflected in a series of official statements published recently. A statement several weeks ago by acting Israeli Prime Minister that Israel would ‘take the Jordan Valley’ was followed by a number of other statements declaring the unilateral takeover of the eastern West Bank to be a ‘done deal’ in the eyes of Israeli authorities.
Palestinians on the ground, however, feel differently. Israeli human rights group B’tselem documented the testimony of a number of Palestinians in the area, including Ni’meh Abu Zaharah, mother of eleven, who is dependent on her family’s farmland in the Jordan Valley for her family’s livelihood. She says, "About three years ago, the Israeli army began to prohibit non-residents of the valley to cross the Hamra checkpoint. When they did that, we lost our source of livelihood. Our situation has deteriorated badly….I don’t know why the army refuses to let us go to the Jordan Valley . I think that they simply want to humiliate us. Maybe they want us to starve to death."
The Israeli government has, in the last months, openly declared its plan to isolate the Jordan Valley completely from the rest of the West Bank. With this, 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank will no longer have access anymore to the valley, the river, its water reserves, the Dead Sea or the eastern mountain chain of the West Bank. The ghettoization of the Palestinian people from the East will be complete.