Dr. Sa’eb Erakat on Israeli annexation policies in the Jordan Valley 20Sep13 September 20, 2013

Palestine News Network    -    19 September 2013

dsc_1027_340_220The Palestine Liberation Organization Negotiations Affairs Department held a press briefing Wednesday about the effects of the Israeli occupation in the Jordan Valley, followed by an update on the current state of the negotiations with Head of Negotiations Affairs Department for the PLO, Dr. Sa’eb Erakat.

In the village of Fasayel, which is predominantly inhabited by refugees from 1948, Erakat spoke about Israel’s current “ethnic cleansing” of the local population through illegal settlement construction, demolition orders, including three such orders on the local elementary school, and privatization of local water resources. Erakat emphasized that Fasayel is one of the “most poverty stricken areas on earth,” yet the inhabitants are forced to buy water at 75 cents per cubic meter from Israeli companies that have “stolen” the resources. 

The nearby village of Khairbet Makhoul in Wadi Al-Maleh has a population of 100 people, all of whom were displaced on Monday. Residents were awoken to the sound of bulldozers at 4am without having received prior demolition notifications. Over 20 families, who have lived there since before the area’s occupation in 1967 have now been made homeless, local authorities explained. Around 40 volunteers from Fadoc Palestine were at the village helping to rebuild the demolished structures.

Earlier on Wednesday the International Committee of the Red Cross had brought tents to house the displaced families, however Israeli soldiers forced them to leave and remove their supplies according to local sources. Communications Advisor for the PLO office, Xavier Abu Eid, told PNN that five Israeli military vehicles had been on the scene just 10 minutes prior to the journalists’ arrival.

Erakat then gave a political briefing in the village Al-Zubeidat, a town with nearly 2,000 inhabitants, and 99% of which lies in area “C,” under full Israeli administrative and military control. Illegal settlements have caused severe environmental concerns for Al-Zubeidat, due to wastewater leakages that have polluted the village’s ground water.  Erakat stated that natural resources in the Jordan Valley have consistently been “exploited by Israeli mega-companies,” mentioning the Ahava cosmetics company that uses minerals from the Dead Sea for its products.

Erakat concluded by saying that Israel must “stop being treated as a state above the law,” as it currently refuses to act within the agreements of the Oslo Accords. “Chances of achieving a two state solution,” Erakat said, “continue to diminish due to Israeli settlement activities. Only a just agreement based on international law can provide the peace and security that Palestinians, Israelis and the rest of the region deserve.” Dr. Sa’eb Erakat On Israeli Annexation Policies in the Jordan Valley

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