A Palestinian mayor explains how Israeli army starves his village of water

on 15 Comments

Whenever I go to Palestine, I come away shocked at what Israel is doing there, without any American recognition.

I realize that I am almost as blind as all the other Americans– because our media has done nothing to inform us about conditions. Our society has ignored these conditions by saying, Well it’s a tough neighborhood, or, They’re Arabs. Below is a video about the Arabs in that tough neighborhood. It is one of several videos I’ll be posting in days to come.

The video is of Haj Sami Sadeq, who is mayor of a little village in the occupied Jordan Valley. I made it the night I spent as his guest in Al-Aqaba.

As you know, the Jordan Valley is considered strategic for Israel– its only buffer against the tough Arab neighbors in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

Israel vows never to give up the Jordan Valley. And there are two Israeli army bases near Al-Aqaba. Israel has seized village lands on all sides.

And what comes through plainly in the video is that little Al-Aqaba is being ethnically cleansed: The entire Palestinian village is under a demolition order. The Israeli army regularly comes in and destroys roads in the village. Under this assault, the village’s population has plunged, from more than a thousand many years ago to a couple of hundred.

When you say you believe in the two-state solution, something I believe in occasionally– consider that it would allow Israel to stay in the occupied Jordan Valley forever, persecuting these people on an ethnic basis, because they are not Jewish. 

So now please watch the video. Sadeq is in a wheelchair because he was shot on his family lands 30 years ago, by an Israeli soldier. Sadeq wasn’t doing anything, just visiting his parents that day. 

He is as gentle a person as you will ever find. And listen to him describe the fact that the Israeli army bases have wells and water– their confiscated lands are green — while Aqaba cannot get permission to drill a well. The village cannot get permission to drill a well, because it is in Area C. And meantime the Israeli army drills well after well. And the village must bring in water by truck every day. 

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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15 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    October 14, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Phil, someday you must post an essay that EXPLAINS the LAND-OWNERSHIP system of Palestine before 1922 and maybe until 1947.

    It’s explained, I believe, by a book by Raja Shehada. The point is that it is not the same as western, or British, or American real property law. Ownership is not limited to PERSONAL, STATE (or VILLAGE). There are also (as I dimly recall) various types or grades of communal lands, for grazing for instance, used by all residents of a village and regarded as their land. there is also land owned by religious “trusts” (waqf land).

    Israel pretends that land not PERSONALLY owned is STATE land and that they may usurp it at will. This is probably not true EVEN of actually state land, under international law, but it is especially galling where it conflates various types of non-STATE#, non-Personal ownerships with state-ownership.

    Check it out.

    • radii
      October 15, 2011, 3:41 pm

      Western hegemony in practice – just as with the Bedouin and other nomadic tribes the world over – might makes right: the powerful with their lawyers and land deeds (pieces of paper) take away generations-old access to land by tribal peoples – when what should happen is fair access

  2. Exiled At Home
    October 14, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Thanks, Phil!

  3. annie
    October 14, 2011, 3:41 pm

    this is a really powerful video. i just tweeted this and added the words powerful video to the tweet. only 10 people have watched this. that is a shame.

    • James
      October 15, 2011, 3:16 pm

      response to this over at elders of ziyon
      :on average an Israeli uses less water than a Palestinian and that doesn’t include the water they steal.

      Do the math of it for yourself if your grey cells are up to the task and then come back.

      That water story has been debunked so often and so thoroughly that you thereby prove yourself to be an out of touch alien.

    • annie
      October 17, 2011, 3:26 pm

      congrats phil, this video is up to 2,673 views since i commented on the 10 viewings 3 days ago. we’re up to 15 tweets now and who knows how many RT’s on those. go team, it’s not too late to give this another push for those w/twitter.

  4. annie
    October 14, 2011, 3:44 pm

    phil, i think you should move this up the queue because i completely missed it this morning and i don’t think i am alone. this is too important to move down the page so fast.

  5. bindup
    October 14, 2011, 5:10 pm

    The village’s motto is “Rebuilding to Remain” and lots is going on right now. They’re planning to build homes under permits issued by the village in coordination with the PA. For more information about this very imaginative plan (which anywhere else would be normal, but in Area C is a form of civil resistance), please see this statement.
    Note that on Wed, Oct 19th, the village, with help from international supporters, will attempt to crowd-sourcing house down-payments on GlobalGiving.org, taking advantage of a GG 30% matching grant that day to entries that reach a certain threshold in that single day.

  6. HarryLaw
    October 14, 2011, 5:52 pm

    Pabalmont By Hook or by Crook: Israeli Settlement policy in the West Bank By B’Tselem pdf http://www.btselem.org/. Gives an excellent overview of settlement building in the West Bank.

  7. justicewillprevail
    October 15, 2011, 11:14 am

    Damn, this sort of thing, which is repeated everywhere in the WB makes me ill. What more evidence is needed of the Israeli deliberate strangulation of Palestinians, the slow ethnic cleansing by denying them the resources to live? All we hear is mountains of Israeli bullshit and self-serving whining excuses, but in the end it comes down to this: they are despicable in the way that they treat other human beings like vermin, the way they take total control over the WB and its indigenous inhabitants, and then pretend that somehow these areas aren’t ‘in’ Israel, and therefore these people aren’t entitled to full human rights and the rights to their own land. It is unbelievable what they get away with, lying constantly whilst slowly throttling innocent people. People, btw, who have more dignity and culture in their little finger than those arriviste fascists from foreign countries.

  8. radii
    October 15, 2011, 3:42 pm

    don’t forget the israeli long-term plan to is cut off ALL natural water supplies to all Palestinians and provide instead desalination plants for them that can be easily bombed or parts withheld … starving them of humans’ most basic need – fresh water

  9. piotr
    October 15, 2011, 5:51 pm

    One underlying issue is that Israel has as a part of it founding ideology/mythology that they “change desert into a garden” so they need a lot of water. But there is only so much water around, and the Israel is running by stealing all Jordan water (almost all), all West Bank water and Dead Sea will go away the same way as Aral Sea. It is deeper so it will take more time.

    Desalination is the only get-out-of-jail card here. But for now, wrecking Palestinian life and ecology works well as a solution, and is less expensive.

  10. ritzl
    October 16, 2011, 2:01 am

    Look at the guy’s eyes! To me they say that I can’t believe I have to explain this, coupled with a sadness, resignation really, that this is the state of affairs, without foreseeable change.

    Thanks to Phil for asking the obvious and seemingly stupid, but not really, questions. And I’m glad that the Mayor answered them patiently, factually, and without a hint of vitriol (though it must have been there).

    This was so reminiscent of the resignation I’ve seen in the eyes of black people in the pre-MLK, US Jim Crow south. No hope.

    How meticulously malignant and/or pathetic is the Occupation? Normal people will respond to this info, perchance that justice may be done. But One State it is, as policy on the US/Israel side, until something major changes in public opinion or US power dynamics, maybe one and the same. Maybe.

    Great post.

  11. American
    October 16, 2011, 11:47 am

    Water is just another way of war for Israel.
    I find myself, after advocating for two states for a long time, increasing turning to the idea of One State. Initally I believed in letting the Jews have their own state, thinking if a just setttlement was reached Israel would change it’s policies and goals and be somewhat a normal state.
    I don’t believe Israel has “a right to exist”, but I believed that since is was a fact it should continue, if it could do so as something besides a rouge state.
    But the longer this has gone on the more I coming to believe that Israel should not exist. 60 years of lies and stealing, violence and delusion and chaos creating and greed and flaunting all moral and legal norms in the face of the world…and showing no signs of abbating…is just too much. I am convinced that these people aren’t to change as long as they remain in control of any state. If one state would, as long and hard as it may be, ‘eventually’ result in changing Israel from a Jewish state to non Jewish majority democratic form of state than that might be the best way for the world to go. A Zionist state is a cancer, not a cure for Jews or anyone else.

    “Israel will create in the course of the next 10 or 20 years conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to Jordan.” (Yitzak Rabin, former Labor Party Prime Minister)

    “It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonization or Jewish state without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.” (Ariel Sharon, former Likud Party Prime Minister, Agence France Press, November 15, 1998).

    “You don’t simply bundle people onto trucks and drive them away. I prefer to advocate a positive policy, to create, in effect, a condition that in a positive way will induce people to leave.” (Ariel Sharon, August 24, 1988)

    “I believed, and to this day still believe, in our people’s eternal and historic right to this entire land.” (Ehud Olmert, Israeli Prime Minister, to the US House of Representatives, June 2006

  12. Mooser
    October 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

    “Whenever I go to Palestine, I come away shocked at what Israel is doing there…”

    Didn’t you go to college? Learn some history? How the hell do you think such a project (Zionism, Israel) is accomplished?
    BTW, if you’re shocked at what goes on in Palestine, wait till I tell you about America, slavery, and its legacy. You’ll be gobsmacked!

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