As part of COVID-19 series in Palestine, Yumna Patel traveled to the Jordan Valley to see what life is like for Palestinians there as they fight two battles: one against the coronavirus, and one against annexation. “In this area, the occupation is even worse for us than the coronavirus pandemic. The occupation has taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to take over more land in the Jordan Valley,” Motaz Bisharat, a Palestinian activist based in the northern Jordan Valley tells Mondoweiss.
From lock down inside of Hebron Badia Dwaik writes, “While we do not know when Netanyahu will resume his annexation bid, our crisis is not over.”
As annexation day approaches, Palestinians on the ground are gearing up for a new reality, one they say they’ve been forced to get ready for for years. Zayd Sawafta, a farmer and mayor of the small village of Bardala, tells Mondoweiss that even when annexation does go through, Palestinians aren’t leaving. “We have learned from experience,” Sawafta says. “They will do everything they can to kick us off this land and take it for themselves, but this time, we are not leaving.”
“As the whole world battles an unprecedented and paralyzing healthcare crisis, Israel’s military is devoting time and resources to harassing the most vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank that Israel has attempted to drive out for decades. Shutting down a first-aid community initiative during a health crisis is an especially cruel example of the regular abuse inflicted on these communities.” –B’Tselem reports on the destruction of a field clinic in Khirbet Ibziq in the occupied Jordan Valley.
The morning after President Donald Trump committed to recognizing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank during the release of his much-awaited Middle East peace plan, Palestinians protested the deal that would annex the Jordan Valley, the breadbasket of the West Bank, by motoring trackers through an Israeli checkpoint.
Nour Joudah writes, “the debate, the conversation, the driving force for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine cannot be about salvaging a territory of fragmented Bantustans, pieced together with a highway and tunnel.”
The Democrats who say that we only need to get rid of Netanyahu for Israel to be great again should be aware of the long history of plans by the Labor politicians to annex the Jordan Valley, lately endorsed by Netanyahu’s “liberal” rival, Benny Gantz. Annexation is the buzzword.
With the topic of this year’s Israeli election focused heavily on annexation, the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in Area C — the more than 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control — are hanging in the balance. Mondoweiss spoke to three Palestinians living in areas of the West Bank– in close proximity to settlements, Area C, and the Jordan Valley — that would likely be the first ones affected if Netanyahu sees his plans through.
Antony Loewenstein spends a day in the Jordan Valley reporting on the nightmarish situation for many Palestinian shepherds as they attempt to graze their land.
Bad pay, hard labor, nasty skin rashes, and poor sleep in constructions sites are just the tip of work conditions found in Israeli agricultural settlements, said a Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report released Monday. The 75-page “Israel: Settlement Agriculture Harms Palestinian Children” is a devastating look into underage Palestinian laborers farming for Israeli companies.