In defiance of Israel's increasing harassment of Palestinian water resources in the Jordan Valley, communities have begun to use direct action to challenge the occupation force's apartheid policies. With the help of Jordan Valley Solidarity, several Bedouin communities are in the process of connecting their villages to water supplies by physically taking charge of the situation. A few weeks ago the most ambitious of these projects kicked of. This is what happened.
We start the day early with the aim of dragging 17 kilometres of pipes across the rocky Jordan Valley landscape in order to pump water from a Palestinian village to one of the many Bedouin areas currently denied water access. The pipes arrive on a big wheel, and the first challenge is to get them onto the tractor which will assist in the work once it is on the road. After a bit of a struggle, we are all set to go and the tractor sets off down the dirt track which leads us to where the pipe dragging will start.
After a fairly smooth drive across the fields the terrain and heavy load proves too challenging for the tractor which falls over with the pipes after trying to cross a ditch. Two more tractors have to be called from a nearby community in order to get it back on its wheels. Miraculously, the pipes did not fly off, no-one was hurt and the commotion did not attract any unwanted attention, making the accident time consuming rather than disastrous.
Once the tractor stands upright again we need a few minutes to readjust the structure before we can begin the real work of “laying” the water pipes (or rather, dragging them along the ground). With a few exceptions this work goes well.
Finally we run out of pipe -slightly short of our target but confident in the knowledge that the most precarious part of the route has been done. Soon the rest of the distance will be finished, the pumps will be connected and one more community will have challenged the occupation through their insistence on staying on their land and demanding their rights.
We are currently withholding the names of the communities referred to in this article to protect the finalisation of this project.