Fasayil: Random arrests to induce people to leave their lands
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Fasayil: Random arrests to induce people to leave their lands

A shepherd from Fasayil, in the Jordan Valley has been detained for three days, falsely accused of “theft of water”.

***image2***Said Muhammad J’dea Rashaidi from Fasayil has spent his life as a shepherd in the hills surrounding his village. This kind of repression is part of the Occupation’s policies to intimidate and bar Palestinians from their land.

Every day Said sends his animals to the hills and he has continued to do so even after the Occupation declared these areas of Palestinian grazing land to be off limits. The lands around Fasayil are part of the 96% of the Jordan Valley that are under full control of the Occupation. Around midday, Said brings the cattle to the village’s natural spring. The people of Fasayil carry all the documentation proving their ownership over the spring, yet a few months ago the Occupation told the people that the spring in Fasayil is now part of a natural reserve and that they were not to access it anymore. This would mean depriving the people of the only water resource for them and their animals as Fasayil – like all villages in the Jordan Valley that have been categorized “C area” under Oslo and hence under full administrative control of the Occupation – has not been allowed to build a water and sewage system. The villagers have defied all those prohibitions to access their land and resources.

***image3***Makarot, the Israeli company that controls the water resources in the Jordan Valley and large parts of the West Bank has dug a well in the area which it uses to steal Palestinian water. On the 24th July, two gunmen from Makarot stopped Said while he was grazing his cattle close to the well and called the border police, claiming that he had entered a fenced off area surrounding it. After two hours the police arrived with a military expert specialized in analysing foot prints. He took Said’s footprints and compared them with the ones found near the well. The Occupation forces soon realized that the footprints they had found were not Said’s, so they told him that they would keep him in prison until he led them to the person responsible.

They took Said with them and since then, his younger brother – the only one for whom the family is able to afford the costs to go to university – has had to drop his studies to take care of the sheep.

Yesterday, Said’s father received a phone call from one of Said’s cellmates in Ariel prison; the first time his family had received any notice of his whereabouts since his arrest. The only other thing Said’s father knows is that the family will be forced to pay a huge fine to ensure their son’s release.

Said’s case is the third arrest in Fasayil since the beginning of the year and all have followed a similar pattern.
In other places in the valley, such as Bardala and Ein el Beida there are similar stories.

The dispossessed and impoverished families of Haddidiye are being punished for resisting on their land, attacked with trumped up charges resulting in large fines. The ever expanding “military zones” and other areas designated as off limits to Palestinians are part of a deliberate policy of colonizing land in the Jordan Valley.

Fasayil lies in the shadow of the settlements of Tomer and Bet Syel which have been built on its land, and is under constant threat of house demolitions. Family homes as well as the core infrastructure of the village is systematically targeted.
For the villagers, remaining in Fasayil to defend lands, lives and and livelihoods has become a daily act of resistance.