Sunday, February 24, two hundred Jordan Valley activists protested against settler takeover of yet more of their land in Israel’s attempt to ethnically cleanse the area. Settlers had in the last days occupied land of the residents of al Aqaba, close to the Israeli military checkpoint at Tayaseer in the northern Jordan Valley.
In response the people of al Aqaba together with the Stop the Wall Campaign and the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee have organised a protest to start a campaign to claim back the land.
On Sunday 200 residents and activists gathered in al Aqaba and then jointly marched to the Tayaseer checkpoint and blocked the road and the functioning of the checkpoint. They chanted slogans against Israeli policies of land theft and colonization and vowed they would continue steadfast and in struggle to gain back this piece of land and achieve justice, freedom and equality for Palestine.
Al Aqaba is one of the villages the Israeli occupation forces aim to destroy completely. Most of the homes and buildings in the village are slated with demolition orders and it is only the people's ongoing resistance that has so far stopped the total destruction of the community.
The village is surrounded by two Israeli military bases and a ‘virtual wall’ of checkpoints, so that Al Aqaba’s connections to neighboring communities, markets and the Jordan Valley have been gradually severed. In fact, all these measures pressuring people to leave the village have already succeeded in reducing the population from 2000 in 1967 to some 600 residents. While many al-Aqaba residents no longer live in the village itself, they still hope to return to their land, and still send their children to the local school.