By Al Harith Al Hasni

THE JORDAN VALLEY, Thursday, October 10, 2019 (WAFA) – Muheeb Fathi Abu Mohsen, a resident of Ein el-Helweh in the northern Jordan Valley, brings his cows twice a day to the water spring of Ein el-Helweh to drink from it – once before he goes to the pastures, and in the evening after his return. He does not know whether his cows will be able to drink from that spring anymore after the Israeli settlers have taken control of it and began to do restoration work on it.

According to human rights activist Aref Daraghmeh, the settlers may draw the spring water to the settlement outposts they have built on Palestinian lands in past years. It is also close to the settlement of Maskiyot and the new settlement bloc in Abu al-Qandoul, built on land taken by force from its Palestinian owners.

There are scores of fresh and saline springs in the northern Jordan Valley. Some of them have dried up due to the policies of the Israeli occupation companies by digging underground water wells. But Ain al-Hilweh spring is a fresh water spring used by residents for domestic use and irrigation.

However, after people have started to rely on water purchased from the villages of Ain al-Baida and Bardala, which are adjacent to them, the spring water is now being used for the livestock.

“If we want to buy water for our cattle, we would need 45 cubic meters a day,” said Abu Mohsen. “The spring saved us a lot of money.”

The residents of the northern Jordan Valley face a water problem first because of the occupation policies and second because of the settlers who have dwelled in area outposts for years.

In the fiery summer, residents’ need for spring water increases. It helps them stay in their lands. However, only few herders are able today to bring their cattle to the spring to drink its water.

“Dozens of herders used to bring their cattle to the spring,” said Abu Mohsen, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years. “But today the settlers also bring their livestock there and they push us out.”

Figures on the northern Jordan Valley prepared by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Abdullah Hourani Center in late 2017 say that “the northern Jordan Valley lies within the largest eastern water basin in Palestine. Yet Israel controls 85% of its water, while the Palestinians control only 15%.”

The consumption rate of the settler living in the northern Jordan Valley is 8 times higher than that of the Palestinian citizen living everywhere else.

According to the Israeli rights center, B’Tselem, the right to water and sanitation is a fundamental right enshrined in international conventions to which Israel is committed, and it therefore must enforce it in all areas under its control. What the Israeli water company, Mekerot, has done in digging water wells has drained dozens of springs in that area.

It was concluded that the Israeli occupation authorities are pursuing this policy towards the water in the Jordan Valley in order to push its Palestinian citizens out of their homes.

More News

Israeli settlers seize water spring in the Jordan Valley

JORDAN VALLEY, Thursday, October 10, 2019 (WAFA) –Israeli settlers today seized a water spring in Ein el-Hilweh in the northern Jordan Valley, according to a local source.

Mahdi Daraghmeh, head of al-Maleh village council, said that settlers seized the water spring and then immediately started restoration work on it. They also prevented people from watering their crops from the spring, which they have been doing to decades.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces razed Palestinian lands in al-Himma in the northern Jordan Valley and also handed a halt on construction order against a structure in Homsa.

Motaz Bisharat, in charge of the Jordan Valley file in the Toubas district, told WAFA that the razing took place on lands near an illegal settlement outpost in al-Himma area without any reason.

The army also gave a stop work order in al-Homsa, he said.


Israeli military halts restoration of water well, detains three in Jordan Valley

JERICHO, Monday, October 07, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli military today halted the construction of a water collection well and detained three Palestinians in Khirbet Samra in the northern Jordan Valley.

Aref Daraghmeh, a local activist, said that an Israeli military force broke into Khirber Samra, prevented three workers from proceeding with the restoration works of a water collection well before detaining them.

The valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.

Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.

The Israel military has also designated about 46 percent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since the beginning of the occupation in June 1967, and has been utilizing the pretext of military drills to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing and stifling Palestinian development in the area.

Approximately 6,200 Palestinians live in 38 communities in places earmarked for military use and have had to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter and live in their communities.

In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only temporarily displaces the communities on a regular basis, but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.

Besides undergoing temporary displacement, the Palestinian families living there face a myriad restrictions on access to resources and services. Meanwhile, Israel exploits the resources of the area and generates profit by allocating generous tracts of land and water resources for the benefit of settlers.

Israeli politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the highly strategic Jordan Valley would remain under their control in any eventuality.