Shepherding under occupation

By the Jordan Valley team,

We arrived early, just after sunrise. We met with Abu Sami* and his family along with members of Ta’yush, an joint Israeli and Palestinian organisation. Abu Sami lives close to a settlement in the North of Jordan Valley and his family looked very afraid of the consequences of the land action that was about to take place. Abu Sami and his family were preparing to graze their sheep on land that the settlers have taken control of in Khirbet Tell el Himma. The land is privately owned by a Palestinian family and Abu Sami rents it from them to graze his sheep, however, because of frequent harassment from settlers, the family are no longer able to use it. Today was going to be different… Continue reading

Visualising: The daily struggle to access water

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By the Jordan Valley Team, 

19.04.2016. Al Hadidiya dry and settlement of Roi green

19.04.2016. Palestinian village of Al Hadidiya dry and Israeli settlement of Roi green with trees and vineyards

Al-Hadidiya is a Palestinian village located in the Northern Jordan Valley, right next to the illegal Israeli settlement of Roi. For the residents of Roi, clean safe drinking water is accessed by turning on a tap but for the residents of al-Hadidya the story is very different. This photo blog shows images of al-Hadidya’s daily struggle to access water and shows something of the human impact of the Government of Israel’s discriminatory water allocation policies in Area C of the West Bank. Continue reading

“I hope they’ll go to school and study”

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by EA Maria, Jordan Valley team,

Now back in Sweden, Maria spent much of her recent service as an EA with EAPPI in  in the Jordan Valley, in the east of the occupied Palestine. In this blog Maria writes about her meeting with Bisam, a 14 year old who left school to work in an agricultural settlement in the Jordan Valley.  20- 04 -2015

15.04.15 Jordan Valley Fasayil al Fauq. Minor who works in an Israeli settlement. Photo EAPPI/Stake

15.04.15 Jordan Valley, Fasayil al Fauq. Bisam who works in an Israeli settlement. Photo EAPPI/M. Stake

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Al Hamra: A Fatal Crossing

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By P. Longden, Jordan Valley team.

Israel has militarily occupied Palestine since 1967. The military operates a system of fixed military checkpoints, surprise flying checkpoints, as well as other physical obstructions inside the occupied West Bank. These restrictions, which include the separation barrier and prohibited roads, enable the Israeli military to control Palestinian movement throughout the West Bank breaching an entire population’s right to freedom of movement. Continue reading

‘Nowhere else to go’: Bedouin homes demolished in Ein ar Rashash

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TWO WEEKS AGO WE WROTE ABOUT THE  THREAT OF IMMINENT DEMOLITION FACING THE BEDOUIN COMMUNITY LIVING IN EIN AR RASHASH IN SOUTH NABLUS AND CALLED FOR INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY TO PREVENT FORCED DISPLACEMENT OF 112 RESIDENTS. TODAY WE REPORT ON DEMOLITIONS AND THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL’S  DISCRIMINATORY PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTION POLICIES IN AREA C.  

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A “Stop Work Order” for a Completed House: A Kafkaesque Story

By the Jordan Valley team, 

12.10.15. Jordan Valley, Humsa. Mahmod with the orders given to him. EAPPI / J. Puukki

12.10.15. Jordan Valley, Humsa. Mahmod with the  stop work orders issued to him by the Israeli authorities. Photo EAPPI/J. Puukki

This is Mahmod. He lives in a herding community in the north of the Jordan Valley. Mahmod lives with his family of eight, this includes two sons, two daughters, his daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. The family earns their livelihood by herding sheep and keeping other animals, such as chickens. They used to live in a concrete house, which provided a living space for the family and a shelter for their animals. In October 2014 the family received a “stop work order” from the Israeli authorities despite having finished their home three years before. Because they failed to “stop the construction” on a home that was already completed, their home was demolished in August 2015 by the Israeli military.

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A success story: against all the odds

by the Jordan Valley team

Nai’me shows us the water pool her family has built with the aid from a local organisation. She explains to us how this pool has enabled her family to harvest rainwater and use it to irrigate their farms. She smiles shyly and adds:

“Our produce has increased so much that we now can afford to send our eldest daughter to university in Jericho”  Nai’me 2015

Nai'mes agricultural water pool, Jordan Valley Photo EAPPI/M. Stacke

Nai’mes agricultural water pool, Jordan Valley Photo EAPPI/M. Stacke

Nai’me and her family live in a small village north of Jericho, situated in Area C. In Area C, Israeli authorities control everything pertaining to building and development. If you want to build a house, drill a well or pave a road, you need a permit; something that Nai’me and her family do not have. In fact, they did not even try to ask for one, since Israeli authorities are not in the habit of granting permits to Palestinians. Nai’me and her family decided to build anyway as a way of resisting the occupation.

Between 2000 and 2007, 94% of all Palestinian applications for building permits were denied, according to UN OCHA.

EAs Peter and Pia overlooking the Palestinian village of Marj e-Ghazal in the Jordan Valley.Photo EAPPI/M. Stacke

EAs Peter and Pia visit Palestinian villages in Area C Jordan Valley Photo EAPPI/M. Stacke

In the Jordan Valley Israel’s military occupation is characterised by bureaucratic and physical restrictions for Palestinians. Nai’me and her family are not the only ones whose buildings are deemed illegal. While she and her family lack permission from the Israeli authorities, the Israeli settlements are expanding, in violation of International Humanitarian Law.

Settlements are heavily subsidised by the Israeli authorities and land is allocated to them through a complex and overlapping system of zoning.

Argaman settlement, established in 1968 in the Jordan Valley. Photo EAPPI/M. Stacke

Argaman settlement, established in 1968 in the Jordan Valley. Photo EAPPI/M. Stacke

The zoning of the occupied West Bank into Areas A, B and C determine which authority, Palestinian or Israeli, is responsible for the inhabitants. Area C is divided into several sub-categories which have severely hindered the natural growth and development of Palestinian towns and cities. In the Jordan Valley for example the Israeli authorities have re-zoned most of the land as either state land, closed firing zones or nature reserve.

Significantly, while only 6% of the Jordan Valley is available for Palestinian development a total of 86 % falls under the jurisdiction of the municipal and regional councils of the settlements. This facilitates the development of settlements well beyond the 12 % of land they cultivate today.

A success story: against all odds? Nai’me knows they run the risk of having their water pool demolished by Israeli authorities. If this happens, her husband might have to go back to working in the settlement farm bordering their village. But Nai’me hopes that they will get to keep their water pool for a couple of years and that her eldest daughter will have time to finish her degree.

Read more eye witness accounts from the Jordan Valley; Area Cdemolitions, water 

Learn more about this issues from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions  ICHAD