jordan valley

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Anita S. (photographing), Aviva H., Raya Y., Dafna B. (reporting in Hebrew), Translator: Charles K.


“When there’s no mercy on earth, there’s none in heaven either.”  Burhan Bisharat, from Makhoul, reflecting on the absence of rain.


On 30.1.14 the Grim Reaper came again to a Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley.  At 5 AM bulldozers an soldiers arrived.  People were given half an hour to collect their lives and pile them up outside.  What they didn’t manage to remove was destroyed along with the house.  The adults and children stand watching, heartbroken.  Half an hour later the bulldozers and soldiers left.  They’d finished their job.  Did the soldier or bulldozer driver see the women’s tears, the men’s terrible despair, the hatred in the eyes of Salem, aged 5, who’ll make a pistol the following day out of a piece of plastic so that next time he can kill those destroying his home?  But meanwhile he aims it, very seriously, at the well-intentioned Jewish women who represent to him only evil.


It’s worst for the old people.  The children may grow up to hate, their fathers continue to struggle for their family’s survival.  Though the pain and fear will remain, in half a year there will be a new encampment there, as wretched as its predecessor, made of plastic sheeting joined together.  But the acquiescent silence on the faces of the elderly, all of whose worldly possessions are scattered around them, seated on a carpet which had been the center of their home and is now dusty, worn and lying on the ground, it’s colors blending with the earth’s until it’s no longer a carpet but the earth itself.  Those whose broken lives won’t be mended, who suffered blow after blow from the Yahud their entire lives, each blow worse than the one before – they have no hopes for the future.


The temperature drops at night almost to freezing, the people out in the open (as of two days ago) without any shelter – including children, old people, women, the sick.  But Israel prevents the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations from providing tents and basic supplies.  Whoever tries to do so is stopped.  The equipment is confiscated or destroyed.  The Red Cross announced in protest that it will no longer provide humanitarian aid to disaster areas of the Jordan Valley.  That doesn’t seem to bother anyone in Israel!!


Meanwhile, through mutual aid,a person who somehow managed to obtain plastic sheeting cut it in half, built something small for himself and gave the second half to his neighbor so he’ll construct a small tent for his family.  Small – but a bit warm!


Rami, the security coordinator of the nearby Maskiyot settlement, came a few days ago with two IDF officers to the desolation where the village center had been.  They looked, were amazed – and then asked, “Nu, are you satisfied?  Is everything good?”  They had a very good time…


Other things happened during our shift but I’m not able to write about them now.  Everything else is dwarfed by this cruelty and by the public indifference, the apathy of people to the injustices committed against human beings.  It was on the front page of Ha’aretz but no one said a word or raised an eyebrow.


To be continued.