Escalation of abuse in shepherd communities in the Jordan Valley
A new edict issued by the Civil Administration forbids land owners in the entire northern Palestinian Jordan Valley situated inside ‘fire zones’ to tend their lands.
This edict means that nearly all tended areas by Palestinians outside the villages in the northern area (from the Jiftlik to the Beit Shean Valley inside Israel) are in actually taken over and become useless for their owners
Firstly, all of the Palestinian areas in the northern West Bank (except for 4 villages) are firing zones. This also applies to the residential areas of communities living outside the 4 villages in the area, and naturally to the farm lands whether owned by the villagers, shepherds or Palestinians living in Area A.
This edict was issued them a few days ago by the Palestinian DCO which received it from the Israeli DCO. It has not been stated what sanction would be exerted against those who violate this edict. A land owner with whom I talked, of a shepherd community, said that everyone is afraid and refrain from plowing and sowing. The fear is mostly that their tractors would be confiscated. This is a familiar procedure. Two months after it was confiscated, a tractor was returned to its owner, resident of Bardala village, whose livelihood depends on plowing with the tractor – he had to pay 5000 shekels to get it back. Namely, after two months without any income…
On December 7, a shepherd from the Shak community near Farsiya had his tractor confiscated.
On December 18, a shepherd living in Al Malih had his confiscated.
Both will not be returned to their owners. They would have to wait, like everyone.
The tractors serve the shepherds to maintain contact with the world. Their tent encampments, unlike the Jewish settler-colonies, have no access roads. Especially in the winter, the dirt tracks are not accessible to cars, only by tractor – for getting a doctor, going to school, buying groceries, feed for their livestock, etc .
This edict changes the status quo that has been in force for years now. Another blow for the Palestinian inhabitants of the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley. It is interesting to check whether the Jewish settler-colonists’ lands are also situated inside ‘firing zones’. Were they too issued such an edict? …