*NEW* Search Our Team Reports! Type a word/phrase in the box below (hint: try "settlers').


Bedouin Lives Destroyed in the Jordan Valley

On June 12, 2008, MPT traveled from Haris to the Jordan Valley with friends from the International Women’s Peace Service. It was necessary to pass through two checkpoints on the way, Al Huwara and Tayaser. Al Huwara is the main checkpoint all Palestinians must pass through on their way to and from Nablus. MPT and IWPS passed through easily, but Palestinians are often delayed for hours.

Tayaser checkpoint is a scary affair. All passengers must get out of their vehicles to walk though a metal detector and have their IDs checked by grim-faced Israeli soldiers. Soldiers thoroughly search all vehicles before allowing them to pass.

After serving them tea outside his home, a Palestinian man from the village of Tamun escorted the MPT and IWPS visitors to the Bedouin villages of Al Hadidiya and Al Farisiya.

A military training installation high on a hilltop looms over this Jordan Valley area.

In Al Hadidiya MPT and IWPS visited a family with whom the MPTers had spent eight days in 2007. The family is now living in a new location two or three kilometers away from its previous home.

The homestead in which MPT stayed with this family during 2007 was demolished by the Israeli army in February, 2008. The family rebuilt on the same site, only to have the army return a week later to destroy its home again. Now the site contains only a few scraps of material to indicate it was ever a homestead.

While the army did not shoot the sheep as it sometimes does during these demolitions, twenty-five baby sheep died of exposure because it was too cold for them to live without shelter.

The MPTers were thrilled to see this family again, and it was clear that the family was equally thrilled to see the MPTers and the IWPS women. They shared a delicious lunch with their guests. The MPTers think this Bedouin wife is the best cook in Palestine!

IWPS and MPTers reviewed maps of the area to gain an understanding of other Bedouin homesteads that are subject to demolition orders.

The Bedouin herder talked at length about the complicity of the United States in the destruction of Palestinian homes and lives. He sees the U.S. and Israel as partners in the whole sorry mess. It was really hard for the MPTers, as Americans, to listen to him express this perspective, even though they share it.

On a happier note, the Bedouin herder talked about an Iraqi Jew who lives in the nearby illegal settlement of Roi.

While Roi is built on stolen Palestinian land and uses stolen Palestinian water to thrive, a friendship has somehow developed between the Bedouin herder and this particular settler. The herder says the settler is good with his children, and he has given cheese to the settler. Not only is the herder’s wife the best cook in Palestine, she makes the best cheese, some of which she sent home with her visitors!

When it was time to leave, saying goodbye to these friends was difficult, as the MPTers have no idea if or when another visit will be possible. The Bedouin man evidently felt the same way, as he followed his guests out with a bottle of coca cola in his hand, urging them to return.

Next MPT and IWPS were driven to Al Farisiya, a successful Palestinian agricultural site with many fields and greenhouses. Unfortunately, an illegal Israeli settlement called Rotem has been constructed nearby with its own agricultural enterprises. The underground plastic pipes of the Al Farisiya irrigation system have been cut and the Israeli army has enclosed and locked the main water valve.

MPT and IWPS visited with an Al Farisiya farmer whose home and greenhouses were all destroyed by the Israeli army ten years ago. Now the army has given this farmer demolition orders again for all of his buildings except his greenhouses.

The farmer believes his greenhouses are to be left standing because Israel understands they are valuable investments that could be used by their settlers if they drive the Palestinians away. Since the time that the Israeli army cut off his water supply, this farmer has lost the equivalent of $90,000, partly in his investment in his greenhouses and partly in his inability to raise produce without water.

MPT had been told that the Jordan Valley is being taken by Israel for its own economic settlement. The land is fertile. Wells supply water to greenhouses that produce large quantities of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Bedouin livestock have grazed the land for thousands of years. What MPT saw certainly supports the premise of discriminatory destruction and land theft by Israel for its own economic advantage.

On the way back to Haris, MPT and IWPS passed through the village of Tubas. There they saw a pile of rubble that used to be a Palestinian Authority police station. The Israeli army has destroyed the police station with bulldozers. So goes the occupation.

No comments: