Jordan Valley: violence against Palestinians is growing
Settler-colonist violence against the local Palestinian inhabitants has been on the rise lately backed by the Israeli army’s own violence, especially in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley
Three wounded in a demonstration at Bardala village
Four days ago men of Mekorot Israeli Water Co. arrived at Bardala with bulldozers and escorted by army troops armed with demonstration-dispersal weapons. According to Mekorot, the village leadership violated the contract it had with them according to which the villagers were to refrain from pumping the water that exists in their own lands, but make do with the Mekorot allotment. A protest demonstration ensued during which three of the villagers were hurt by teargas and required medical treatment.
Background in brief - About a year or two following the occupation of the Palestinian Jordan Valley, Mekorot signed an “agreement” with three Palestinian villages in the northern part of the valley, Bardala being one of them, according to which the local inhabitants would cease to pump water from their own lands and “in return” Mekorot would drill wells inside the village and pump the local water for its own needs, and allot the villagers a certain amount of water at cost expense (several cents a cu.m.) The agreement stipulated that Mekorot would use the rest of the water (at least half of it) for its own needs – namely sell it to settler-colonies. Nearly 50 years have gone by since, the water allotted the village has not increase, quite the contrary: it diminished. The reason for this, as Mekorot claims, is the debts which the villagers have accumulated. At present, the Mekorot water allotment to the village does not answer the needs of the villagers for domestic and farming use. The situation is dire and that is apparently the reason for the villagers’ “violation” of the agreement. Needless to say, this draconian contract was forced on them and did not leave them any freedom to decide nor possibility to affect its formulation.
Moreover: since when does the Israeli army intervene with demonstration-weapons in a business conflict, and automatically favoring one side? Indeed, it is n surprise for as this happens in the Occupied Territories, there is no proper law nor proper enforcement, and the occupier has the almighty last word. Still, this fact may not be overlooked.
Settler-colonists in a pirate outpost steal and sequester
Recently, settler-colonists of the pirate outpost at Umm Zuka nature reserve (caught stealing water from an army camp) transferred their cattle to En Sakout, where they steal water from springs under Palestinian ownership. The army, the police and the nature reserves authority do not stand in their way. In addition, three days ago they sequestered four horses from local Palestinians. A month ago the same settler-colonists stole five donkeys that have not yet (and probably never will be) returned to their Palestinian owners. All this is worth a lot of money. In simple Hebrew: stealing in broad daylight.
Confiscating a car from a Palestinian lines the pockets of the Civil Administration? Whose?
A Palestinian merchant from Tyassir village wished to purchase lambs from a resident of Ras Al Ahmar. As the main road to Ras Al Ahmar is blocked at the Gokhia gate/barrier, closed for the past two years, he took a bypass route. For this ‘crime’ his vehicle has been confiscated for a month, and he will have to pay both official ransom and fine as well as money for safeguarding the vehicle, all of which amounts to thousands of shekels! The legal “grounds”: Ras Al Ahmar is located inside a firing zone, entry into which is forbidden.
Background in brief - Nearly all of the area in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley has been declared firing zones, including the settler colonies (about which this status is meaningless) and consequently, the entire population of shepherd communities, their encampments and their grazing ground have become illegal as firing zones are naturally out of bounds (let us not forget that the Palestinian Jordan Valley is occupied territory and not under lawful Israeli jurisdiction!). In other words, at any given moment, anything possessed by the Palestinian may be demolished and confiscated, sequestered, stolen. The overriding purpose is to remove the Palestinian shepherd communities from the Palestinian Jordan Valley, and anything that makes their lives all the harder is considered a blessing by the Israeli Occupation.