Settlement expansion in Jordan Valley expels Palestinians from their land in Wadi al-Maleh
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Settlement expansion in Jordan Valley expels Palestinians from their land in Wadi al-Maleh

The Occupation has approved a decision to expand N. Maskiyot settlement in Jordan Valley. The further land grab for Zionist training space in the settlement will expel Palestinians from even more areas of Wadi al-Maleh.

On 21st of May, the Occupation passed a decision to confiscate further 3000 dunums of Palestinian lands in Wadi al-Maleh to expand a settlement built in 1990. At that time, 150 dunums of village land from Tubas were taken to erect a structure where military, industrial and agricultural training courses are held. The Zionist military, trainers and trainees usually stay for courses lasting 8 months. The structure’s expansion eastward, annexing more land, started at the beginning of this year and has been accelerated by the official approval of Israeli decision makers. Local residents already witness new settlement construction springing up on their lands.

About 40 farming families, comprising 250-300 people, live in tents on their land in the area slated for the settlement’s expansion. Historically, farmers lived on these lands only during the planting and harvesting seasons. Presently, however, they have been forced to stay permanently as the isolation of the Jordan Valley makes movement almost impossible. Furthermore, under this new order, al-Helweh spring will be isolated from the farmers and shepherds that rely on this water for their animals, so farming will become a heavy burden. To implement the expansion plan, the Occupation attempts to expel these people from their land. Farmers have already been ill-treated and beaten, but they are determined to remain on their land.

Eight months ago, Occupation forces made a population count of Wadi al Maleh residents. Everybody that was in the area that day was given a number that from now on allows him or her to cross the checkpoint isolating Wadi al-Maleh. Any person who was not present that day is now completely barred from accessing or leaving the area.

The repression and confiscation of land and living spaces for the Palestinian population goes hand in hand with the isolation of the whole Jordan Valley. The Occupation forces recently installed cameras at the checkpoints which block access to the Jordan Valley. These cameras cover vast areas surrounding the checkpoints in order to block farmers and workers that want to “infiltrate” their own land and property. The people see these cameras as escalating the siege against their existence in the Valley.