Hamra (Beqaot), Ma'ale Efrayim, Za'tara (Tapuah)
An initiative by the Palestinian Authority to supply running water to the shepherd communities in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley
We saw two officials of the PA who came to speak with the shepherd families about laying water pipes to supply water from the PA area to the shepherd communities in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley. So far they have had to purchase water a steep prices and transport it in tankers to their encampments. Their daily water consumption, according to the report I read long ago, amounts to 20% of the quantity recommended by UN agencies for the minimal consumption per person.
The Israeli water company, Mekorot, pumps large quantities of water in the Jordan Valley and distributes it mostly to the settlements, who receive very large amounts at cheap prices. The recognized (by Israel) Palestinians localities there receive far smaller amounts of water, and the tent encampment dwellers are allotted no water whatsoever from Mekorot. The said officials also showed interest in the threat made by the Civil Administration to seal a small water source near Umm Jamal, presently used by several families. Hopefully this positive initiative will bear fruit.
Important activity by Taayush in the relations between Maskiyot settlement and the neighboring tent dwellers
Recently, thanks to Daphne’s initiative, Taayush activists have been coming to the shepherd communities in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley. One of their activities has been to equip the shepherd families with a map of the area, demarcating the exact area for which the settlement security official (e.g. Maskiyot) is responsible, as well as firing zones, nature reserves and privately-owned land. From the map they learned that all the tent dwellers around this settlement are situated on privately-owned land that is not a firing zone. In spite of this fact, posts have been placed next to them bearing signs warning that this is a firing zone and entry is forbidden. One of the shepherds even received official warning before demolition, under the pretext that this is a firing zone.
Taayush activists accompanied them with their flock to one of the areas which the security official claimed to be the settlement’s security belt, and the map refutes this.
This activity is important for the shepherds now realize they too have rights, that the settlement’s security official and the soldiers are not authorized to do whatever they please, and they do not always have to be obeyed. The shepherds can struggle for their rights.
By the way, the map is issued by an organization named “Naboth’s vineyard”, founded by Dror Etkes. Whoever runs into a similar problem can obtain maps for other settlement areas.
Tapuach-Zaatara Junction Checkpoint – 9:45 – no inspections, neither on our way there, not on our way home.
The entrance into Akraba village which has been shut for months is now open.
The entrance into Jawarish village is still blocked.
Maale Efrayim checkpoint is unmanned.
Near Mechora settlement a broken water pipe is being repaired by Mekorot.
Hamra checkpoint is open, on our way back as well. The watchtower is manned.
Gokhia gate is closed.
At Ariel Junction two private vehicles are seen, one Israeli and one Palestinian, and next to them are two soldiers. Apparently an accident. We did not stop.
We visited families at Furush Beit Dajan, Samara and En Al Hilwa, and handed out permits issued by the Civil Administration for participants in the beach days organized in several places.