The Occupation Systematically Deprives Jordan Valley Farmers of their Harvests
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The Occupation Systematically Deprives Jordan Valley Farmers of their Harvests

***image2***The Occupation forces have developed a series of repressive measures and isolation policies that ensure Palestinian farmers are not able to harvest their land in the area of Sahel Libqeye (Libqeye Valley), east of Tammoun. Sahel Libqeye comprises approximately 20,000 dunums whose crops are doomed to rotten in the sun.

Since 1972, 60% of the Sahel Libqeye area has been stolen by Bega’ot settlement. The Occupation has now isolated further 3,000 dunums, cultivated with wheat and hops. Farmers that want to reach these lands have had to recently undergo a long procedure to attempt to prove they are the owners of the land in front of the Occupation, in order to be able to apply for a harvesting permit from the military administration. However, even with such proof of ownership, permits are no longer issued under the pretext that all coordination between Palestinian and Israeli administrations is suspended. Only those forced to work in the Zionist settlements can still obtain permits for the Jordan Valley. This is a clear indication that the Occupations will tolerate Palestinians only as slaves of the colonizers.

The Occupation is thus barring 500–1,000 farmers from the Sahel Libqeye area from reaching their lands. Thirty Palestinian farming families live in this area. They have been able to bring not more than one harvesting machine for the 20,000 dunums. Even this machine is regularly stopped by the Occupation forces from working. Farmers coming from outside have to cross the gates in a 2.5 km long by 4 m deep trench that isolates the area, and are not allowed to bring any equipment with them.

Some of the farmers isolated from their lands paid Palestinian workers from nearby Jiftlik to harvest their crops. However, soldiers stopped the workers in the farms and evacuated them under the pretext that they were not the land owners. In addition to the expulsion of the people from their lands, 1,000 inhabitants of ‘Atouf village within the Sahel Libqeye area face regular demolitions of their homes. If any Palestinian or their cattle is found within the areas stolen for settlements or military zones, high fines are imposed on the people and the animals are impounded and fees set for their release.