Palestinians warn against Israeli attempts to 'empty the Jordan Valley'
Israeli forces "aim at emptying the Jordan Valley of Palestinians", the coordinator for the Palestinian Bedouin communities in the northern Jordan Valley told The New Arab on Tuesday.
"The demolitions policy practised by the Israeli occupation targets the Jordan Valley at the same level as Jerusalem," said Abdul Rahim Bisharat, a representative of a dozen of Bedouin communities in the northern Jordan Valley.
"The number of Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley was more than 300,000 in 1967," said Bisharat. "The number decreased to some 55,000 today, after the occupation forces turned most of the grazing lands into military zones, in addition to demolitions which have escalated in this year."
Bisharat made his press remarks at his Bedouin village of Hadidiyah, located in the governorate of Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley, which was demolished several times by Israeli forces and rebuilt by its defiant residents.
HAPPENING NOW: 6 Israeli bulldozers are demolishing Palestinians' tents that are their homes & their stockyards in Hummsa Buqaia' Bedouin community, Northern Jordan Valley. Intensified demolition is part of the ethnic cleansing practices of #IsraeliApartheid #StopDemolition pic.twitter.com/JyWpGodF1B— Stop The Wall (@stopthewall) November 3, 2020
"At Hadidiyah, just as in all Bedouin villages, we are located in area ‘c’ under the Oslo accords, which means that we are forbidden from adding any new structures, building a school, fixing a road or having a clinic," pointed out Bisharat.
"At the same time, Israeli settlements, like the settlement of Roei, just 300 meters away from my home have roads, electricity and water supply," he noted. "This is a systematic policy to push us out of our lands, and the world must know it."
Israeli demolitions have "significantly targeted the Jordan Valley since the beginning of the year," Fares Fuqaha, a human rights activist in the Jordan Valley, said to TNA.
"Dozens of demolition warrants were distributed in recent months, especially since August, all targeting homes and agricultural structures," said Fuqaha.
"Demolitions have concentrated on the surroundings of Jericho and on the northern Jordan Valley, especially Bedouin communities," he added.
"The Jordan valley is a strategic area for the Israeli settlement project," Palestinian leading expert on Israeli settlements, Khalil Tafakji, told TNA.
"Not only it represents 27% of the West Bank’s area, but it has an economic importance as it includes the most fertile lands and water resources," said Tafakji.
NEW VIDEO: Israel is ramping up demolition orders to force Palestinians out of the occupied Jordan Valley, seemingly paving the path for Israel to illegally annex some of Palestine’s most fertile agricultural land. pic.twitter.com/oMcbjc7clU— IMEU (@theIMEU) June 19, 2020
"Demolitions and settlement expansion in the Jordan Valley increasingly create a reality where the Jordan Valley is effectively annexed by Israel, without Israel having to announce its annexation," Tafakji added.
Last week, issued a demolition warrant against a Palestinian-owned farm near Tubas. In late October, Israeli forces gave expulsion warrants to several families, including thirty Palestinians, in the village of Humsa in the northern Jordan Valley, after declaring the area a military training zone.
According to the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA, Israeli forces demolished 490 Palestinian structures in 'Area C', mostly in the Jordan Valley, in the first nine months of the year.