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Human rights abuses in the Jordan Valley

29 December 2023 | International Solidarity Movement | Jordan Valley

The following article is a snapshot of how life is under occupation and brutal settler colonialism for the Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley. These incidents are just some that took place on one day (Friday 29th December).

Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers, along with officials from the Mekorot Water Control Company (Israel’s national water company), stormed the village of Bardala and closed the water holes used by the farmers of the village to irrigate crops, as part of a policy of water deprivation. The policy of racial discrimination and apartheid in the right to water constitutes an existential threat to the Jordan Valley communities.

An empty road with a green field to the right and a house to the left, cars can be seen in the distance.

The IOF and Mekorot arrive at village of Bardala to sever water connection.

Photo taken from uphill, showing a green landscape with houses and cars in the distance. In the middle, a powerful gush of water.

Water gushing in to the air from the pipe severed by the IOF and Mekorot.

The IOF and the Jordan Valley Regional Settlements Council closed the only entrance to the pastures to the east of Ain al-Hilweh in the northern Jordan Valley. The iron gate placed across the entrance and guarded by IOF soldiers prevents shepherds and their livestock from entering any of their lands and pastures east of Route 60. With this gate, gangs of illegal settlers now have full control over a vast area of more than 55,000 dunums of land (approximately 14,000 acres) located between Road 60 and Road 90. The loss of grazing land and the confinement of livestock in population centres constitute a disaster for farming communities in these areas and are driving factors in their forced displacement.

A dirt road is blocked by two blocks of concrete and a metal bar between them, alongside two soldiers standing in front. On the other side, a car is parked.

Photo of gate installed by the IOF at village of Ain al-Hilweh.

Citizen Abu Mahdi Daraghmeh from Ain al-Hilweh reported that he is using legal channels to launch an appeal in order to protect him from the herding activities of illegal settlers, as settlers stole 80 cows from his children the day prior. Denial from the settlers along with the complete inability of the Occupation Authority’s Civil Administration to address the problem have left him with no other option. Herding is a strategy increasingly used by illegal settlers to steal land across the West Bank.

House demolitions, a powerful tool for forced displacement and ethnic cleansing used by Israel, are continuing apace in the Jordan Valley. On 26th December at around 9am, Civil Administration personnel came with IOF soldiers and two bulldozers to the village of Furush Beit Dajan. The forces demolished five homes of five families numbering twenty five people, eight of them children. Three of the homes demolished were built before 1967. The forces also demolished three seasonal homes of three families, numbering twenty people, including seven children. A concrete wall around one of the houses as well as a pool used to irrigate crops were also demolished.

A large heap of rubble and metal. Two men are standing on it, one looking to the camera and doing a peace sign.

House demolitions at the village of Furush Beit Dajan.

Photo taken from uphill shows cars driving around a village where a digger is demolishing houses.

House demolitions at village of Furush Beit Dajan.

The Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign is one of the main solidarity organisations active in the Jordan Valley, with which ISM has worked in partnership over the years. It is a network of Palestinian grassroots community groups from throughout the Jordan Valley and stands side by side with Jordan Valley residents in resisting the ethnic cleansing of their communities through direct solidarity.


Photos credit: Jordan Valley Solidarity