In the Jordan Valley, Israeli flowers have electricity, but Palestinian people
Located in the east,
along the Jordan River, the Jordan Valley comprises approximately 25 percent of
the land in the West Bank. In previous
times, landowners were known as “princes” because of the abundantly available
water and fertile land.
Today, the Jordan
Valley is a land of contrasts. Israeli
settlements and farms exist side-by-side (and sometimes through) Palestinian
villages and farms.
Housing in the
settlements is constructed of stone or concrete, with space to grow. Palestinian villages are often filled with homes
made of tarp and scrap metal, which are cold in the winter and hot in the
In some areas, electric
lines crisscross Palestinian villages and water pipe lines run through
them. But Palestinians often have no
access to this infrastructure; it is for the exclusive use of nearby Israeli
settlements. The Israeli authorities
have fenced in the water pumps, so Palestinians can’t “steal” the water beneath
Perhaps the most
striking example of racist distribution of resources is that of Israeli flower
plantations next to Palestinian villages.
Rows of lights hang over the flowers to make them bloom earlier for
export to Europe. Yet the Palestinians
living next to these farms cannot tap into these electric lines.
By providing this infrastructure,
Israel encourages the growth of the Israeli settlement population. At the same time, the Israeli government
attempts to force Palestinians in the Jordan Valley off their land by
demolishing their homes, denying them permission to build new homes or fix
roads, and controlling water, electricity and transport of produce to
markets. Additionally, the Israeli
government refuses to allow Palestinians who do not have an address in the
Jordan Valley to visit there.
Yet, as in the rest of
Palestine, the Israeli occupation does not have the final word. Palestinians showed CPTers the ways in which
their communities are organizing to resist Israel’s systematic oppression. By insisting on their right to remain in the
Jordan Valley – demonstrated by building schools (sometimes in defiance of the
Israeli government) and providing electricity for themselves – they
nonviolently confront the forces of the Israeli Occupation intent on removing