Ma’an news agency posted the following report on 1/11/07: “Israeli forces detain 9 Palestinians, including 3 minors Israeli forces detained nine Palestinian citizens including three minors on Thursday morning in the central West Bank village of Al-Mazra’ah Al-Qibliyya west of Ramallah. Local residents told Ma’an Israeli forces carried out another campaign in the village last Sunday and apprehended 13 people. They said those arrested took part in the demonstration last Friday protesting against the separation wall.”
How do you make a living as a farmer when your land and water has been stolen from you by the Israeli invaders? The answer is that you don’t. You join the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps in Jordan, or you work for a pittance in the illegal Israeli settlements spreading like a cancer over the once fertile land of Palestine. The Jordan valley was once the most fertile region for Palestinian farmers.
Yesterday I found myself with two friends, on a Palestinian hillside, being pursued by an Israeli settler shouting and shooting indiscrimiately. This wasn’t what I had expected when I decided to attend a demonstration against the Isreali settler theft of land from the palestinian villagers of Al Misra’ar. Having trecked over the hills and through the olive groves from the village in the midday sun I could see ahead of me all the villagers who were leading the demonstration. Then I heard gunfire. Everyone was suddenly shouting and running.
Al Mazra’a is a village outside Ramallah of about 5,ooo people. They describe themselves as ‘peaceful farmers’, or at least they were until the settlement came. The settlement nearest the village is Talmund B. There are seven settlements of this name, a legal and propaganda trick to make it appears as if there is only one. The mayor of al mazra describes the settlement as “spreading like a cancer”. The entire economy of the town is based on olives, the men tell how everything is based on loans until the harvest comes and then the money is paid back.
To the north of the Jordan Valley is a remote town called Ein Al Beide, a picture of devastation and destruction surrounded by Israeli opulance created from stolen Palestinian lands. Where once they had thousands of dunums of land only 100 dunums remain.
In the heart of the Jordon Valley, set on the hillside of Al Jiflik is a small Palestinian community. What was once a peaceful agricultural community is now a picture of devastation. Since the occupation in 1967 the village has been caged in by settlements and their land stolen. Al Jiflik is situated in area C, which is a no build area and completely surrounded by checkpoints. The land which is still considered by the Israeli government as Palestinian is too dry to farm, as water supplies are minimal.
Arab MK slams ‘ethnic cleansing’ after demolitions in W. Bank By Yoav Stern and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent After Israel demolished structures in at least five Palestinian villages in the Jordan Valley in the last week, Hadash Chairman Mohammed Barakeh called on Thursday for an end to what he termed the “ethnic cleansing” in the area. Pools, tents and tin structures built without permits and belonging to Palestinian residents, were destroyed in the villages of Bakia, Jeftlik, Beit Dajan and Bardella, which are scattered along the Jordan Valley.