Jordan Valley: Unceasing cruelty, never-ending suffering
To the Fasail springs
It is morning. On the dirt track to the Fasail springs we found three sheep and goat flocks. One flock of sheep near the Fasail colony greenhouses, black goats that from far away made us suspect they were… cows belonging to the colonist, on the northern slope where vegetation is still scarce, and an additional lock a bit further away. The presence of the colonist and his young thugs is felt on the ground. Few shepherds even dare to reach the wadi. Flocks do not come close to water sources and are not seen on the greening hills after the rains.
A faucet coming out of the main water pipe, usually open and connected to a pipe that led water to the troughs of sheep and goat as wlel as camel flocks in better days, has been removed and the water now flows freely down the slope. The waste of water is remarkable, but for a colonist who has plenty of water anyway it is more important to make life difficult for Palestinians and reduce their meager water allotment. The troughs have already been taken away by colonists months ago.
We continued up the wadi all the way to the concrete-sided ditch. Water flowed unhampered. The rusty pipe which was sabotaged by colonists was fixed with a heavy layer of concrete and one could hear the water rushing underneath. J., responsible for the regular water flow, arrived later, after Daphne called him. He came to connect the faucet and cease water wastage which is a crime in itself. He and his friends are responsible for the massive use of concrete over the pipe. About a month ago when we visited the place, the plastic and concrete coverings that had been laid there by activists had been violently pulled off and the pipe had been blocked with large rocks and plastic bags.
Jericho, for the ongoing treatment of M.’s eyes
With M. from Fsaail we got to the Jericho ophthalmic clinic rather early. We hoped to be among the first ones treated and finish fast. While we were waiting for the doctor, eight Palestinian policemen entered, three of them armed, and the others high-ranking officers. Daphne, who just got into the waiting room, told me later that the thought had crossed her mind: After all we are present in an area forbidden to Israelis. Could they have possibly been there because of us? Seconds later we found out that among them was an elderly gentleman, shackled. The detainee and his accompaniers had preference and we had to wait for our turn much longer than expected.
For about three years Daphne has been accompanying M. to the Jericho ophthalmic clinic and financing her expensive treatment. Now it appears that M. could get treated at a public clinic in Turmus Aya village. Advantages: Receiving injections of better quality but rather expensive. The treatment would cost much less, and getting there will involve less driving, only once in two months.
We went to see the fence that colonists are erecting alongside road 90, opposite Umm Zuka, in order to block the Palestinians’ tracks to grazing. We photographed the fence posts south of Brosh HaBiq’a close to the kilometer 352 marking.
A barrier has been placed on the road going up to Umm Zuka from road 90.
Jiftlik, the Ka’abana family
We stopped to visit the family that suffered heavily in past demolitions of their home and their expulsion from grazing grounds near Hadidiya. Their baby daughter was killed when they rapidly escaped. The mother was wounded and was hospitalized at Hadassah En Kerem including a severe head wound. Later the young mother underwent a long rehabilitation in Nablus. In the meantime another baby daughter was born, cared for lovingly, who is genetically disabled in her spine. Lately another baby was born to the family. They live on a rocky slope. They have no part in the green, fertile part of the village. About two weeks ago there were demolitions once again. Four apartments and the uncle’s house were demolished. After the demolition, the flock remains without shelter. A. told us that small lambs have been dying because of the freezing cold at night. Their troubles are not over and they seriously fear what’s ahead. About two hours before our arrival, we saw a drone above the residential area, photographing homes built without permits, and perhaps also to ensure that they have not restored and re-erected the sheep pens. The fatal impact on livestock is a heavy blow to their livelihood, and meant – to get them to disappear.
Visiting the Zob’a family near Hamra Checkpoint
Our next visit was to the family of Zob’a and his Mahmoud, old friends of Daphne. We planned to spent a short time there before continuing home. No more than a cup of coffee. Mahmoud told us of a drone that passed above their lands just a while before we came, and about problems his farmer and landowner friend has at Furush Beit Dajan, whom the army does not permit to build greenhouses. The area is privately-owned in a farming zone, the greenhouses are to serve farming purposes only, but the army is sovereign and the orders arbitrary. Logical claims of the Palestinian residents are not acceptable. While the coffee was poured into the cups, we heard that soldiers had come to the two tractors M. ordered to work over his land, as they do every year. We got up immediately and without taking proper leave, quickly stepped over to the fields.
See the video of Daphne and Zob’a. Following are Daphne’s words
An new year – old evil. 80-years-old Zob’a was born on his family’s land, and ever since he can remember he has been working it. He lives in poverty, in a mud house, but this is his home and he has never left it. After the rain he sows, and in the spring he reaps. This is his life. Today, a male sergeant and two women soldiers came to confiscate his tractor. Poor State of Israel wants to fine him the usual 4,500 NIS fine. For what? Some of Zov’a’s land has been declared a firing zone. No reason but the will to prevent Palestinians from entering the area of their residence prior to 1967, an area that has never seen army maneuvers. There is not a single sign in the whole area that warns travelers that this is a firing zone. Remember that about half of the Palestinian Jordan Valley has been arbitrarily declared a firing zone. Zob’a ran home and brought out his ownership documents. The soldier insists: “I know this land is yours, still it is a firing zone”. We sat in front of the tractor and prevented its being confiscated. The women soldiers giggle. Racism and evil are apparently inherent in their blood and Zob’a’s distress did not manage to penetrate their stone hearts. Occupation turns every heart into stone. The soldiers in the photo do not serve their state when they trample and harass innocent people!
The confrontation went on until nightfall, and the soldiers eventually left. It is to be feared that they will be back with reinforcements.