Saturday, June 07, 2008

Jeftlik Village in the Jordan Valley

rebuilding demolished home with mud (adobe) blocks
family now living in relative's old house - 6 people in one room. they moved temporarily into an old unused and decrepit adobe shack until one of the young girls was bitten by a snake.
Abdullah's demolished home
above: temporary shacks housing Palestinian families in the Jordan Valley village of Fasayil.

As part of the Bi'lin conference, internationals were taken to see different situations in the West Bank. We choose the often overlooked Jordan Valley. Other groups visited areas we will see later, such as the northern west bank and Hebron in the south.

The Jordan Valley is very hot - below sea level, but has an acquifer providing water for agriculture. According to the Jordan Valley Solidarity Organiazation (, 200,000 Palestinians lived in the Jordan Valley before the 1967 war displaced all but 55,000 of them.

Under the Israeli occupation, the scattered remnants of the Palestinian community are generally not allowed to build new homes or agricultural infrastructure (under the Oslo accords most of the Jordan valley was assigned to "Area C", under full Israeli military control).

Thus - the new generation is not allowed build homes for their families. Fearing demolition, they build temporary shacks, which are issued "demolition orders" and demolished by the Israeli military for "building without a permit." Even adding new rooms or floors to pre-existing homes is prohibited.

We met a man named Abdullah who's family home was recently demolished. He had dared to build an actual concrete home. He is now rebulidng with mud bricks that he and his family are making themselves.

The village has no water or electric connection. They use a generator for 2 hours a day and water is brought in by truck. A 3 day supply for Abdulla's family costs $20.

While such dire conditions exist in many places in the world - the situation here is striking because of the apartheid like conditions created by the occupation. Nearby Israeli settlements draw water from new wells and are hooked up to the electrical grid while the Israeli military prevents indigenous Palesitnian communites from drilling new wells or building new homes. It amounts to an policy of ethnic cleansing through economic pressure and deprival of the basic necessities of water and shelter. This situation is one of the most naked injustices I've seen in the occupied territories.

For more on the Jordan Valley see: "The Jordan Valley's forgotten Palestinians Ben White," The Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2008

For ways to support, see:

Jordan Valley Solidarity:


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