Three hundred Palestinians have been ordered to leave their homes and take with them all their belongings within the next eight days. Where are they supposed to go? The military order provides no answers. In the meantime, they wait for the rain that refuses to come.
By Keren Manor / Activestills.org
They are about to be expelled from their homes but every person I met on our visit to the community of Ein al-Hilweh in the Jordan Valley asked us if there was news of rain. The farmers and shepherds in Ein al-Hilweh and in the neighboring village of Umm Jamal are worried. It is the middle of November, and without water, their herds of cattle, sheep, chicken and other animals are beginning to die of hunger. There is no water to drink. The dry earth does not provide food for pasture. The small community, which is not connected to running water, depends on rain to grow the crops that provide the little food off of which they and their livestock survive.
Because Israel has designated most of the land in the Jordan Valley as as military firing zones, nature preserves, or security areas for settlements, the villagers are forbidden from going almost anywhere; they risk the confiscation of their tractors and livestock by the army if they do. They are forbidden to approach the springs closest to their homes because of the presence of soldiers and the settlers.
The absurdity of the situation reached its peak, the villagers recount, with the construction of a water pipe by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, that runs next to the village and provides water to the settlements in the area. The pipe leaks, but if the villagers dare to approach it with their flocks, they risk their livelihood being confiscated by the army. In the reality of the occupation, better to waste water than quench the thirst of the wrong population.
The Palestinians are left with two options: to suffer dehydration or pay NIS 120 (nearly $35) for four cubic meters of water from the nearby villages of Bardala or Ein al-Beida—almost five times what the residents of the settlements pay, and 15 times what Israeli farmers pay for a cubic meter of water for agricultural use.
“It is difficult to make a living from livestock. The situation here is difficult,” said one of the members of the Daragma family, with whom...Read More