On Saturday, August 6, Israeli activists from the “Water Coalition,” among them members of Hadash and Communist Party of Israel, will take part in a symbolic water convoy and deliver a water tanker to Arab-Bedouin Palestinian communities of the Rashidiya and Abu Karinat Tribes near the village of Fasayil in the occupied Jordan Valley – a community to which the Israeli authorities deny water, electricity and other basic amenities. Further activities at the site will include the construction of a playground, initiated by Combatants for Peace, and a joint dinner of Israelis and Palestinians. The event will begin at 16:30. The Water Coalition demands that Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley be linked to the country’s water network and that water – the Source of Life – stolen from the Palestinian people be restored to them.
The Rashidiya and Abu Karinat tribes living in the Jordan Valley were expelled in 1948 from their original homes in the Negev and the Ein Gedi region (along the southwestern shore of the Dead Sea) in Israel. Today they number about 130 persons, and are under the threat of being expelled again – as are thousands of Bedouins living along the highway from the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to the Jordan Valley.
The occupied Jordan Valley covers an area of 1.6 million hectares, 29% of the West Bank and has a Palestinian population of approximately 70,000, while around 10,000 Israeli settlers live there. Most of the Valley has been appropriated for purposes of Israel’s illegal occupation: 88% of the area is defined as Area C, 53.4% are defined as state lands, 45.7% are defined as firing zones, 12% are settlements, and 20% are nature reserves. Palestinians have the right to enter and remain on no more than 15% of the territory.
Because the Jordan Valley constitutes a significant land reserve for the demographic and economic development of Palestinian society, the illegal expropriation of lands and the dispossession carried out in the Valley are in effect choking all Palestinians – not just those living in the Valley.
The massive demolition of houses in the Valley, confiscation of vehicles and agricultural equipment, prohibition of entry into “Fire Zones” and the reduction of grazing land, and the unequal water distribution policy established by the Oslo Accords all serve as instruments of ethnic cleansing and attest to Israel’s eventual plan to annex the region. Regarding water rights, discrimination is rampant: A Palestinian in the Jordan Valley gets – for his or her own personal needs including watering owned cattle – is allotted no more than 8 (eight) liters of water a day. In contrast, an Israeli settler in the same region is allotted, for domestic and agricultural purposes, 3,000 (three thousand) liters a day.
To take part in today’s Water Convoy:
For transportation, please register in advance. Participants will be asked to contribute towards the expenses. Buses will leave from the following locations:
- Tel Aviv: Levinsky Park – at 13: 45. For details and registration call phone 050-5733276
- Tel Aviv: Arlozorov Street Railway Station, Sixt Parking Lot – at 14:00
- Yarkon Junction: bus stop on Highway 5 in the southeast corner – at 14:15
- Jerusalem: For details and registration call phone 052-7071025