Jordan valley: for the Palestinians desert wasteland, for the settelers pools and lawns

Observers: 
Daphne Banai, Keren Assaf and Eliav Liti
Jun-29-2017
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Morning
The illegal colonist outpost at Al Hema already sports a green lush lawn in midsummer
Photographer: 
Daphne Banai
Beq’aot settler-colony: plenty of water, plenty of greenery for Jews
Photographer: 
Daphne Banai
Towards the Palestinians location
Photographer: 
Daphne Banai

We were supposed to have  some journalists on a tour of the Palestinian Jordan Valley, but not a single one registered. Still – word of this tour reached the chairman of the settler-colonists’ council of the Jordan Valley who hurried to give an interview to TV’s channel 20 and channel 7 and warned of the “incitement campaign of the radical leftist women-activists”. He even demanded we be issued restraining orders to keep us out of the area, claiming we incite the Palestinians.

Instead, we drove out to the Palestinian Jordan Valley and met with Israel Prize winner David Shulman, Amiel Vardi and Guy Hirschfeld (all of them Taayush activists), and joined them to look into the water springs in the Al Farsiya area. These springs have been blocked by reeds and concrete, and various activist groups (Social Dharma, Taayush and others) plan to clean the spring openings so that Palestinians could use this water. Wherever Palestinians have no water, every such spring, even the smallest of them, is an irreplaceable source of life. The water is there, but in actual fact the Palestinians are not allowed to refurbish the springs and use their water.

a spring in wasteland
Photographer: 
Daphne Banai

It was very hot. The way to one of the springs is by a narrow path along an abyss. While walking, two of us slipped an dfell. Nothing much happened beyond some abrasions, but I kept having flashbacks from Nirit’s past bad fall.

We climbed up to the new illegal settler outposts and witnessed their development. The outpost at Al Hema is flourishing and already surrounded with lawns and trees. At Um Zukka outpost there is a already a small swimming pool for the welfare of the ‘settler hilltop youth bullies’ who occupy it. Clearly there’s no water shortage here. It’s an illegal outpost with orders to evacuate and cease construction already issued, and here it is enjoying abundant water, and can even afford a swimming pool, while the neighboring Palestinians are craving for even a few drops of water to sustain them!

Later we visited Burhan. A week ago, an orphan goat-kid ‘fell in love’ with me and kept ‘suckling’ my fingers. This time, as soon as I took a seat, it ran to me, leapt and sat next to me and refused to let me go.

a wonderful friendship…

We went into Beq’aot settler-colony to see conditions there. Sheer curiosity. We found a lush settlement – filled with vast lawns and shady walkways. We reached the swimming pool that was empty of people. (15:40). There were only one child and a lifeguard. No one asked us what we were doing there. We lay down on the lawn in the shade of a tree. At some point some of us dove into the water. At another point, people began to get suspicious, and thought we were Machsomwatch’s journalist tour, so they got very nervous. Although they were not aggressive. On the contrary,  they invited us to visit again. Some of their pearls of wisdom: “Are you friends with the Ishmaelites?” “You are always welcome here, everyone may swim here, except the Palestinazis”, “You want to tell everyone about the rich man’s pool we have here, and how miserable the Ishmaelites are in their tents”, “may they drown in their water tanks”.