Since Friday 31st of March, Occupation Forces have completely sealed-in Palestinian communities in the northern Jordan Valley. No one has been allowed to enter or exit the area, resulting in the rotting of agricultural products and a total shut down in the cultural, social and economic activities of Palestinians living there.
***image2***The measures come a few months after Occupation Forces started to implement the isolation of the Jordan Valley from the rest of the West Bank. Military checkpoints began prohibiting Palestinians without local residency status from the Valley. Moreover, the main checkpoint of Bardala has been closed for Palestinian exports, barring the farmers to deal with the areas in Palestineâ48.
The plan to isolate the Jordan Valley has been developed to ensure the area is annexed into the territory the Occupation wants to consider as within its âfinal bordersâ. Since last Friday it has become apparent that the âisolationâ threatens the livelihoods of Palestinians here, catalysing their exile and creating the conditions by which the Occupation can cleanse the land for the expansion of Zionist settlements.
Since the Occupation Forces began to tighten their grip on the Valley, the only way to pass to or from the area with the West Bank has been through two checkpoints – al Hamra and Tayaseer. These are now completely closed for Palestinians. Many of the institutions that serve the area and provide people with employment are outside the Jordan Valley, mostly in the areas of Tubas and Tayaseer. Thus the lives of hundreds of people have become paralysed. Teachers and students cannot reach their schools and universities; workers and employees are cut off from their jobs, whilst sick or injured persons have been unable to access hospitals. Food shortages are expected to threaten the villagers in the coming days.
The sealing-off of the area signals a disaster for farming communities and Palestinian agriculture. People living in the northern Jordan Valley base their livelihoods almost completely from agricultural production. They are now cut-off from markets in the West Bank, such as Tobas, Nablus and Jenin. Huge amounts of agricultural products have already been wasted. Since the closing of the Bardala checkpoint, agricultural export had partially been exported to the â48 under with much difficulty from Jenin or Qalqiliya districts. Now, any kind of agricultural marketing has become impossible.
The plans of the Occupation are clear: Palestinian existence in the Jordan Valley is to be made impossible in order to colonize and annex the area. With high-ranking members in the Occupation preparing to impose their âfinal bordersâ upon Palestinian land, the developments in the Valley reveal the ground being prepared for the latest round of Zionist expansion.