Situation in Jordan Valley becoming critical

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The situation in the Jordan Valley is now more serious than ever. The level of harassment of Palestinian communities by the Israeli army and settlers has been building up over the last few months. It has affected villages throughout the area, but there can be no doubt that over the last month they have been attempting to make life in Al Farisiya unendurable.

On 19th July the homes of 23 families were destroyed, as were water tanks, trees, animal shelters and food. Once makeshift homes had been reconstructed, with the support of international volunteers, the Israeli army returned to Al Farisiya on 5th August and demolished the homes of all 23 families again, plus another 4 families – this time using their bulldozers to cover everyone’s possessions with mounds of dirt. With resilience, teams of volunteers, and days of hard work, the families were able to salvage some of their stuff.

Then, on Sunday 15th August, the Israeli Army returned and declared the area a ‘closed military zone’. This time they didn’t list any specific homes for demolition, but issued two documents that leave everyone in the area vulnerable to further destruction of their homes or confiscation of their animals and tractors.

Set against Netanyahu’s comments in March ‘that Israel would never agree to withdraw from the Jordan Valley under any peace agreement signed with the Palestinians’ this clearly has nothing to do with building permits, and has everything to do with Israel aggressively trying to drive Palestinians from the Jordan Valley.

The Israeli state is extending its colonisation of the Jordan Valley, expanding its illegal settlements, and forcing Palestinians out of the area. Its doing so by denying them the most basic of human rights: water, shelter, safety and the means to make a living. Harassment of Palestinians by the Israeli army is institutionalised and positively encouraged by armed settlers. Israel is continuing to disregard all aspects of international law – anticipating that it will get away with it. Its current ethnic cleaninsing offensive is clearly about establishing control of the area to strengthen its position in any future negotiations.

At the same time it is burning down villages in the Negev, increasing harassment of Palestinian communities in other towns in ’48 Israel, destroying villages in East Jerusalem, holding Gaza under siege, and continuing the daily brutality of its illegal occupation.

Faced with this situation, the level of local community action in the Jordan Valley over the last year has been amazing. Jordan Valley Solidarity have been actively challenging the occupation by rebuilding demolished houses, renovating old houses, running water pipes, building roads, even installing electricity. This is all aimed at making it possible for people to stay.

When the harassment and demolitions start, they try to provide the basic essentials of food and shelter, but more importantly: support, community action and solidarity. Their focus is very clearly on grassroots resistance against the occupation.

To do this they need solidarity from internationals who are in Palestine, and those who are not. They also need funds.

There are many ways you can support the Palestinian resistance on the ground in the Jordan Valley. Please think about how you can contribute:

Inform yourself and others:
forward this email to others who may act, check the website regularly, and send us your email so you can be on our email list.

Plan protests in your local area:
we are asking people to plan actions that directly target the companies that profit from the occupation, and which draw attention to the situation. See corporateoccupation.wordpress.com for ideas.

Donate at www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org

If you’re in Brighton get in touch and come and get involved in our local group: Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity.
We have planning meetings once a month, plus working groups on: campaigns; websites and information; boycott, divestment and sanctions; and media watch.

If your’re in Palestine, or planning to go in the near future...
spend some time in the Jordan Valley to support families facing demolition and harassment, or help with rebuilding demolished homes, running water supplies to local communities, or building community facilities such as schools.

If you’re a journalist, or have media contacts, try to get some information published about what is happening
Given that Israel is destroying yet another entire village the news coverage over the last month has been shamefully sparse.

Write to your MP, MEP and William Hague, Foreign Secretary
Call on them to break all trade, economic, academic, cultural and sporting links with Israel until the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians ceases, the occupation of the West Bank and the siege on Gaza ends, and Palestinians achieve justice and peace.

Write tothe Israeli government
For details on how to do this see http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/018/2010/en

Daily reports on what's happening in the Jordan Valley can be found at www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org