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Monday, 06 Jul 2020

Palestinian farmers that living in the Jordan Valley say they are worried with Israel's annexation

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 Palestinian farmers that living in the Jordan Valley say they are worried with Israel's annexation Palestinian farmers that living in the Jordan Valley say they are worried with Israel's annexation

News24xx.com - With Israel's annexation, makes Palestinian farmers that living in the Jordan Valley say they are worried about what the future holds which could begin, because it will prevent them from accessing their land and they will be cut off from the rest of the West Bank, and also destroying their export business and only source of income.

The strategic, and fertile, Jordan Valley is known as the "breadbasket" for Palestinians, constituting half the total agricultural area providing food for Palestinians in the West Bank.

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"If annexation goes ahead, it will be a disaster for us farmers in the Jordan Valley. We're tired of the issue of annexation. We're very scared of what the future could hold. We're all scared and expecting something to happen on July 1 or July 10 or July 15. What could happen?" 52-year-old Muneer Nasasri from the village of Jiffly, 30km (12 miles) south of Jericho told.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to begin the annexation of illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, including parts of the strategic Jordan Valley, from July 1, fulfilling an election campaign pledge.

The plan to annex as much as one-third of the occupied West Bank was given impetus by US President Donald Trump's unveiling in late January of his so-called "Middle East plan" as Netanyahu stood by his side.

But details on how Israel plans to proceed with the annexation, as well as the timing, remain unclear.

US officials have said no final decision on the next steps for implementing the Trump plan has been made. Meanwhile, Israeli military and intelligence officials have warned against the move as it poses a security risk since it could spark an uprising in the West Bank.

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Still, whether the annexation starts on July 1 or later, Palestinian farmers say the move has been expected for a while.

Over the years, they have witnessed Israeli authorities increase evacuation orders and place restrictions on farmers' access to their fertile land and water.

Because of Israeli restrictions, only 50,000 dunums (12,000 acres) of Palestinian land - one-eighth of the land under Palestinian control suitable for farming - is under cultivation, according to Israeli NGO B'Tselem.

This is why, over the years and with the help of the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), farmers in the Jordan Valley have organised to resist the move by reclaiming as much of their land as possible. Funded mostly by donations, the union has helped Palestinian farmers by constructing roads to access their land and deploying heavy machinery to help cultivate land that would otherwise be difficult to level.

According to Fuad Abu Seif, head of UWAC, the organisation has reclaimed about 12,000 dunums (1,200 hectares) of land since 2013 in Area C of the Jordan Valley and West Bank, which remains under Israeli control. Since 1995, Palestinian farmers have planted some 700,000 productive trees, including almond, olive and grape.

With the looming annexation, Abu Seif said their efforts have doubled in the Jordan Valley as empty land becomes easy for Israelis to claim.





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