In the Jordan Valley, no day passes without Occupation aggression against the Palestinian farmers, workers and residents in the area. During the last few months, the Occupation has stepped up measures to ethnically cleanse the area. Palestinians in Jordan Valley are facing serious threats to their lives and livelihoods, leaving them with no other choice than to leave their lands and become part of Palestine`s growing number of refugees. Determined to resist this fate, a large crowd of demonstrators gathered on Wednesday, 14th of December to stand against the Zionist plans.
The demonstration included hundreds of people from Bardala, in the north of the Valley, and the villages around it. From Bardala, the people marched against the checkpoint erected on the borders of Bardala and Beisan, a village on the other side of the Green Line. The crowd gathered despite the attempts of Occupation forces to thwart the popular mobilization by closing down the entire area via erecting numerous checkpoints to block potential demonstrators from reaching Bardala.
This protest was triggered by the Occupation decision taken last month to close the checkpoint for lorries and vans, barring Palestinians farmers in the Jordan Valley from marketing their produce in villages and towns in Palestine `48. These policies not only target Palestinian agriculture, but also aim to destroy important economic and social connections between Palestinians all over Palestine in order to further develop the Occupationâs project of isolation and ghettoization. The demonstrators called for the checkpointâs re-opening to preserve vital access to Palestinian markets on the other side of the Green Line and foremost for continued resistance against the Occupation and the continued land theft occurring for the benefit of Jewish settlers.
The Palestinians in Jordan Valley are among the largest producers of vegetables in the West Bank. Crossing a distance of 40,000 dunums of land, the farmers daily sell their produce within the West Bank and the towns in â48. Closing the checkpoint to Beisan â which used to be the only direct way out of Jordan Valley left by the Occupation for Palestinians â causes huge losses every day for the farmers who are cut off from a vital market, as the West Bank demand is not large enough to absorb the produce that was cultivated for consumption in Palestine â48. Farmers tried to transport their produce all the way to Jenin where another checkpoint controls access to Palestine â48. However, the existing system of apartheid roads, mobile checkpoints and endless delays at the checkpoint north of Jenin ensure that produce is rotten and unusable by the time of arrival.
In a further attempt to make life for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley unbearable, the Occupation forces demanded that the shop keepers in al-Awja (North of Jericho) empty the stores they have run for years at the side of Roads 60 and 90. These streets pass through the heart of al-Awja, and have been a market selling the traditional metal works, pottery and agricultural seedlings. Occupation orders forced the people to abandon their village market place December 13 -19. This decision is part of Zionist plans to completely isolate the Jordan Valley. The road through al-Awja connects the northern Jordan Valley with the rest of the West Bank. Controlling and closing this road places Jordan Valley under complete Occupation control.