Aqaba demolitions – A village struggles for existence
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Aqaba demolitions – A village struggles for existence

On Monday, 10th of April, Occupation Forces distributed fresh demolition orders in Aqaba, a village in the west of the Jordan Valley. They join 16 previous demolition orders which threaten to destroy the social, economic and cultural institutions and life of the village. Palestinians in Aqaba face a daily fight for their survival and existence.

***image2***The two new military orders target part of the village mosque, and road structures within the village. Threatened by 16 other demolition orders made earlier in the year, the village council took a decision in March to improve the infrastructure and the roads of the village in order to challenge the Occupation. A newly cemented road, the walkways and pedestrian crossings, are there to show the Occupation and the world, that the village will not surrender their land.

However, threats to the village are continuing to increase as the Occupation plans to take over the land of Aqaba become clearer. The village’s location, on a hilltop, adds to the strategic interest of the Zionist military planers to destroy this Palestinian village.

During the Oslo period – in which the colonization of Palestinian land became institutionalised – the area was considered a “C zone” and thus slated for more Zionist expansion. Today the village is besieged by a military training zone and a checkpoint that monitor all movement.

While Aqaba continues its daily struggle for existence, the Jordan Valley itself is still under intensive isolation. For more than a week restrictions have resulted in no Palestinians from the Valley under 30 years from leaving or entering the area.

With similar measures in place throughout Jerusalem, the Occupation de facto claims full control over these areas in the attempt to expel Palestinians living there. On a regular basis, Occupation Forces confiscate the ID cards of Palestinians working in the northern Jordan Valley, if they are not “registered” as “residents” in the Valley.

ID cards are confiscated at checkpoints and also through raids upon Palestinian farms, where workers and employers risk losing their ID cards. With this they lose the ability to move through the West Bank, which is peppered with hundreds of Occupation checkpoints.

The process to recover the ID card is a complex and difficult one, paved with lures to collaborate with the Occupation and take a “permit” which denies access to the lands currently being isolated. Often, the ID cards are never returned or replaced, making for a precarious existence for such Palestinians. Day by day the Jordan Valley becomes an area for “Jewish settlers only”, while the international community remains complicit in the Occupation’s crimes.