***image2***The first bricks have been laid for a new school for the Palestinian village of Fasayil in the Jordan Valley, at the heart of the West Bank. The villagers hope to provide an education for the young people of the village, but the project is also a statement of defiance.
Construction work requires a permit from the Occupation authorities, and since the occupation had been extended to the West Bank in 1967 not one has been granted. Ten homes built without permission are currently slated for demolition, twenty have already been demolished.
The new school is part of the Education Not Occupation initiative, launched by the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and its local committee as part of the âSave the Jordan Valleyâ campaign.
***image3***The villagers are building the school in the traditional way using skills transmitted over generations, with bricks prepared from mud and straw. People in the Jordan Valley have built their homes in this way since the times of the Canaanites.
It is almost certain that the Occupation authorities will try to halt the building of the school, but the villagers are defiant. One of the local coordinators says: âAlmost three quarters of the 200,000 Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley have already been expelled by the Occupation. Now they are trying to ethnically cleanse the Valley from the rest. Yet, the people are resisting and fighting for every dunum of land and a life of dignity.â
The story of Fasayil is typical. After the 1994 Oslo Accords, just 135 km2 was posed under Palestinian administrative control: 6% of the land. On the remaining 94% (2265 km2) completely controlled by the Occupation, there are 36 illegal Israeli settlements occupying 1200 km2; and 1065 km2 of ‘closed zones’ covering the ‘border line’, military bases and natural reserves.