M. from the Palestinian Jordan Valley: the threat of annexation fills us with anxiety and existential concerns

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Phone Report in Corona Time, received from Daphne Banai

A phone conversation with M.:

Netanyahu and Pompeo announced the annexation of the Palestinian Jordan Valley and other areas on July 1, 2020. The Palestinian Authority announced the cessation of its “security” cooperation with Israel. If at first a certain indifference was felt about this measure, perhaps because of the lack of certainty among Palestinians that Israel would take such a highly illegal step, or because present despair is so great, and that in spite of their hope to receive blue (Israeli) IDs, work in Israel, receive Israeli social security benefits and some other goodies, reality begins to slap them in the face and panic takes over. It’s a month away, and no one, not even the PA, knows where the border will be, who will find themselves living in a Bantustan and who in the annexed areas, will there be checkpoints and where. The children going to schools in Tamoun and Nablus – will they have to cross a border? The hub of life for residents of the Palestinian Jordan Valley is the West Bank – shopping, healthcare, schools, mosques – they are about to be disconnected from everything practically.

I recall the time when checkpoints were active, how hard it was to stand in long waiting lines in the seething summer sun, and how many people could not manage to cross and were turned back under various pretexts. They are concerned with endless problems and hardships that are about to arise, and the worst – fear of expulsion. Since most of them live out in the open in small, family communities, they are registered in their IDs as living in Tamoun/Toubas, West Bank towns. They may be considered illegal aliens in the Palestinian Jordan Valley and thus under threat of expulsion. The lands there belong to Toubas and Tamoun resident. Will they now be subject to the evil law of “absentee property” and sequestered from their legal owners?

M. says the PA will no longer be able to aid residents (providing them with tents, for example, after the Israeli Civil Administration demolishes dwellings). Thus, too, international aid organizations. Communities weakened by years of military occupation, water denial and inhuman climate conditions – are doomed to collapse. I do not expect Israel (thus, M.) to support these communities because it wishes to get rid of them and take over their land to be given to the Jewish settler-colonists. He adds that the PA threatens to dismantle and let Israel solve the problems it created.

Corona virus – all villages in the West Bank were under closureinfo-icon during the 3-day holiday that ends the Ramadan fasting month, but people got tired of this, went out in droves and threw stones at Palestinian policemen. The lockdown is no longer enforced.