Weʼre raising £7,500 to Help Indigenous Palestinian Communities Dig Water Wells
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Water. Something we all take for granted until it isn’t there. Unfortunately, for many of the Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley in occupied Palestine, they can’t take it for granted. Not because of natural disaster or scarcity, but because the Israeli occupation is using access to water as a strategy to drive Palestinians from their land and into the cities.
We at Jordan Valley Solidarity are working together with Palestinian communities and NGOs to rebuild water pipes, re-dig wells and to bring piped, fresh water to isolated communities so that these communities can continue to resist the ethnic cleansing of their land.
Where is the Jordan Valley?
The Jordan Valley is the easternmost third of the occupied West Bank and runs from the border with 1948 Israel in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. It is part of the Great Rift Valley that stretches all the way from Kenya to Syria and, at more than 400m below sea level, forms the lowest inhabited place on the planet. It is also completely occupied by the Israeli military.
95% of the Valley is designated as Area C, meaning that it is under the direct control of the Israeli military authorities. This 95% excludes the largest towns and town centres but includes numerous Palestinian villages and Bedouin communities. At least 58,000 Palestinians reside in this jurisdiction but deliberate Israeli policies have caused this to decrease from 300,000 in 1967.
The Jordan Valley is situated on a natural aquifier. Hot summers and ready access to underground water mean that it is perfectly situated for mass agriculture. Since 1967, huge Israeli agribusiness settlements have increasingly colonised the land and overwhelmingly dominated access to resources whilst forcing Palestinian residents off the land. Israel has made no secret of its intention to annex the Valley permanently in the eventuality that it is forced into a two-state solution, citing both security and business desires.
What has this got to do with water?
The West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, sits on top of a huge natural aquifier. This means that water should be a readily available natural resource.
Yet, the inhabitants of this same territory are deprived of it. In Area C, Palestinians are routinely refused permission to build the infrastructure for clean water. When they build it anyway, the occupation sends soldiers and bulldozers to fill in the wells and destroy the pipes. This means that Palestinians have to buy tanks of water from the Israeli state water company at exorbitant prices.
The vast majority of villages, communities and farmers have seen their access to water destroyed by the occupation that steals this 'blue gold' for the benefit of settlers, as well as Israeli civil society through big companies such as Mekorot. By denying access to water, the occupation hopes to force Palestinians into exile in the cities or abroad, thus, clearing more space for Israeli-only settlements.
There is a law established by the occupation in area C, which says that when a Palestinian does not cultivate land for 3 consecutive years, then it no longer belongs to them and becomes property of the occupation.
But how can a Palestinian farmer cultivate their land when their access to water is made almost impossible? They will be a farmer who will no longer have the energy to fight the occupation. A farmer who will have no viable and secure land to ensure the future of his family, to pass on to his descendants.
What can we do about it?
Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) has teamed up with six international charities, local communities and a network of Palestinian NGOs to complete a campaign of building works bringing clean water facilities to communities in the Valley. We are looking for £7000 to pay for materials and the cost of paying local labourers a fair wage (and thus putting money into the economy) for their work.
Palestinians have an Arabic word, Samoud. Samoud translates most clearly as ‘steadfastness’ and is used by the Palestinians to express their desire to resist the ethnic cleansing of the occupation by staying exactly where they are. This means finding ways to live, work and live family lives in the midst of the violence and harassment of the occupation.
Israel wants to make life impossible for the Palestinians of the Valley so that they up sticks and leave. By donating towards the Water Campaign you are directly contributing to the resistance against the occupation. To Exist is to Resist.
What is JVS going to do about it?
We are going to dig a new water well, 150 metres deep to access the falling water table. This well will be accessed by 40 large Palestinian families who are currently forced to buy the water from under their feet from Israel. This well will also provide emergency water to other communities during the hot, dry summer months. If the occupation destroys the well, we will dig it again.
Half of the cost of this work is being donated by Palestinian civil society groups and we are raising the other half. The more we raise, the more work we can do.
Who is Jordan Valley Solidarity?
Jordan Valley Solidarity campaign is a network of Palestinian grassroots community groups from all over the Jordan Valley and international supporters. Our aims are to protect Palestinian existence and the unique environment of the Jordan Valley by building international support and supporting communities on the ground.
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Oct 2, 2018
Sep 28, 2018
Sep 27, 2018
Sep 20, 2018
Water is vital for all of us but in fact the people of Palestine are cruelly deprived of the amount they need. This is why this is such an important project
Sep 20, 2018
This Israeli policy is atrocious; yet our media treats Israel as though it were the victim instead of the criminal!
Heura Negra Vkk
Sep 20, 2018
Sep 20, 2018
Well done for planning to make water available to these communities
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