Warning of the colonizer’s sever aggressive behavior and the Israeli violations against Jericho and Jordan Valley
Jericho – Al-Quds Newspaper – The engineer Majid Al-Fityani, Jericho’s governor, has warned of the intensity of the Israeli attack on Jericho and the Jordan Valley, which affects humans and the land, interrupts the development and threatens future peace in the region.
During a meeting with media delegation, included representatives of the local, Arabic and foreign media, at the invitation of the Ministry of Information, Al-Fityani stated that the Jordan Valley faces a brutal attack by the Israeli Occupation Authorities which affects land and humans, and threatens future peace and stability in the region.
Al-Fityani pointed out that the Israeli threatening warnings recently handed to palm farmers, in Deir Hijleh and Al-Zour east of Jericho, to evacuate 3728 dunums planted with palm trees cause heavy losses for this sector. He added that the volume of investments in these lands exceeded fifty million dollars, thus a large number of agricultural workers will lose their work opportunities, which means hitting bad the economy and interrupting the investment and the development in this important part of our homeland, which also considered as the strategic reserves and the breadbasket of Palestine.
However, Jericho is an agricultural and tourist province, where Al-Fityani explained that farmers used to plant around 500 thousand from northern of the Dead Sea to Bisan before 1967. Moreover, there were 167 artesian wells and 200 pumps for pumping water from the Jordan River were stopped, thus today the number of wells became only 57 due to the Israeli procedures and the pumping process for colonies; that steal water from the depth of the ground to feed the colonies and controls the Palestinian lands.
He added that the Palestinians share of water is up to 5% while of Israelis is 95%. Furthermore, Mekorot Company, the National Water Company of Israel, controls water and did not agree to increase the amount of pumping for Palestinian communities, for instance, there is an agreement to provide Aqaba Jaber refugee camp with 95 cubic meters per hour but nowadays it pumps around 5 cubic meters per hour and did not take into account the increase in population. Not to mention that the Palestinian water consumption averages 50 liters per capita per day, yet Israeli water consumption averages 800 liters per capita per day, which means more than16 times per capita per day.
Al-Fityani indicated that the salinity of surface water, upon which Palestinians depend, exceeds 4000 mg/L and in some wells 5000 mg/L; which means it is not suitable for agriculture. However, Israel doesn’t allow digging deep wells and this pushed Palestinians to plant palm trees due to its ability to withstand water salinity and it has economic benefit. According to statistics, Palestinians are planting about 55 thousand dunums out of 500 thousand which shows the impact of the Israeli Occupation and its unjust restrictions and procedures. He declared that the Jordan Valley has the lowest population density, because Israel does not allow people to move or change their address of this area. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) the number of residents of Jericho and Jordan Valley is 55 thousand while it was 75 thousand on the eve of the Six-Day War (5/6/1967); where in Aqaba Jaber camp and Ein Sultan it was 25 thousand, and Al-Nuway’imah 20 thousand in addition to the city’s residents and its outskirts .
Al-Fityani confirmed that the National Authority is working as much as possible to support Jordan Valley, and there are projects in the infrastructure witnessing a quantum leap. We are aware of the catastrophic circumstances experienced by citizens, and we are trying our best to support farmers and local communities. However, there has been improvement in schools, clinics, roads, and water networks; where most of the Palestinian villages have water networks except for some areas in Jiftlik.
Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa, Deputy Minister of Information, stressed on the important role of media in exposing the Israeli violations that threaten humans, land and peace, adding to that he said that we are working to reveal the truth and this is the duty of the journalist and the press in all fields.
Abdel Nasser al Najjar, the head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, stressed the need for the political and media movement to expose the Israeli violations, considering that the Israeli Occupation and the colonies are a threat to all aspects of life. He said that the press tour with the participation of dozens of journalists from different media is an important step to be eyewitnesses of the real situation and even to explore how we professionally deal with this issue from all sides. Adding to that, the delegation visited the Palestinian lands threatened with demolition and confiscation, met palm farmers and visited Al-Ouja area. Thus, the delegation considered the systematic theft done by the Israeli Occupation Authorities to wells, cisterns and lands and how it turns them for the expansion of colonies; in order to deprive the Palestinian from his right in agricultural and survival in addition to the permissions given to colonizers to confiscate lands and expand colonies.
Mohammed Al-Habash, Endowments Minister, warned of the continued Israeli Violations noting that the threatened lands are Palestinian lands and have the needed documents. He added that this step has become a battle for us; the lands threatened with confiscation and demolition are our point of resistance and that farmers invested millions of dollars and will not tolerate with such violations. Furthermore, Dr. Jawad Naji, the Minister of National Economy, stressed on the need for joint cooperation to strengthening the farmer’s existence on this land and opposing the chance for the Israeli plans. He pointed out that these violations have serious consequences at political and economic levels.
Mr. Jameel Mutawwar, Vice-President of the Palestinian Environment Department, indicated that this land is inhabited by history and heritage as well as being an important resource for the breadbasket. He explained that the Israeli Occupation is trying to put obstacles against this resource by confiscating lands and stealing water, which confirms that Israel doesn’t want our people to live. He added that the warnings in Deir Hijleh area are encroachment of all conventions and considered a crime that must be held accountable under international law.
The delegation expressed it dissatisfaction over the water situation in Jordan Valley, where the Water storage is pumped from deep basins by Israeli giant pumps then turn it for the benefit of colonies. According to the experts, this ongoing process led to the dryness of Ein Al-Ouja. However, Thai workers were busy in harvesting palm trees, in Nativ colony near “Al-Katibah Checkpoint”, at the time Israel was working on uprooting palm trees in Jericho and Jordan valley areas, which lead to the unemployment of the Palestinian farmer. This clearly shows the colonial intentions in this area, especially when foreign workers brought their families for housing over the lands owned by Palestinians, who are not allowed to build new houses or rehabilitate their old houses, set up schools or even health clinics on their lands.