Israeli propagandists would have us believe that as they expand their illegal settlements they are merely using land that is uncultivated and barren. They have perpetrated this myth for over 60 years and continue to do so today. It is a lie. Settlement expansion is only possible through the theft of Palestinian land and resources. It is directly supported by the Israeli state by the use of incentives and subsidies to persuade settlers to move into the valley.
This report covers 11 villages in the Jordan Valley that are directly threatened by the illegal expansion of Israel's illegal settlements. In October 2008 we interviewed numerous local people. Their stories illustrate the way in which Israel uses planning controls, house demolitions, destruction of water sources, restriction movements, and harassment to pressurise the Palestinian people to leave their homes and their land.
However, this is no only an account of repression. It is also one of resistance. In every village we received one overwhelming message: that there is an absolute determination to stay. Many communities have already experienced exile from their towns and villages, being refugees from the Nakba of 1948, or settler and army land grabs and violence since 1967. They have had to re-establish themselves on the land they now live on, and they cannot allow this to be done to them again. The many projects to rebuild demolished houses, create playgrounds and football pitches, refurbish clinics, set up farming cooperatives, and build community schools, are all a testament to the resistance that is happening on the ground. For communities under occupation, under threat of removal by ethnic cleansing, all these projects are a direct challenge to the brutality of the occupiers.