Palestinian Jordan Valley tour with 3 diplomats

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Nurit Popper, Daphne Banai

The trip was conducted in my private car.

Along our way to the Jordan Valley and along the various ways we traveled, our guests received explanations about the means by which the State of Israel has been working to expel the legal, indigenous inhabitants of the Jordan Valley – the Palestinians – from their own land: denial of construction permits, home demolitions, destruction of solar panels for electricity and other types of infrastructure, the people’s physical disconnection from the center of the West Bank, denial and robbery of water, repeated ‘temporary’ expulsions to the cruel desert outdoor conditions for the sake of the Israeli army’s maneuvers. We visited a family at Ras Al Ahmar whose home, solar panels and even refrigerator were destroyed twice in the past two months.

At Khalat Makhoul, destroyed several times, only four families have remained out of the eleven still living there in 2016. The Besharat family hosted us generously and prepared a sumptuous meal for us.

In both cases our guests saw how the life of a Palestinian shepherd family is conducted under constant threat, in dire poverty and without water.

We went to see up close two new illegal settler-colonist outposts that are flourishing even though they have been issued evacuation orders…

We visited the village of Bardala together with Aref who gave us instructive historical background, and saw the ruined water reservoir and the pipes that until two weeks ago had irrigated fields for the upcoming sowing season. They have all been trampled and destroyed by the Israeli bulldozer.

We met a woman teacher who has finally founded a real school in the Jiftlik - after fifteen years of holding classes in tents in the region’s searing summer heat because Israel had not responded to her repeated requests for a construction permit. Finally, international pressure enabled the construction of a schoolhouse, next to which a local small hospital is also being built.

After the tour I received a letter of thanks from one of the diplomats that said, among other things, that many of the things they saw they had heard about, but only through this tour did they actually realize the full scope of the deeds committed by the State of Israel and especially the systematic and planned damages inflicted upon the civilian Palestinian population.