By Israa Gorani
TUBAS, Monday, April 26, 2021 (WAFA) - Yesterday, Sunday, in a precedent the first of its kind in the region, seven Palestinian owners of vegetable stalls in the Jordan Valley received notifications from the Israeli Settlements Council to remove their stalls.
Observers believe that this step is an implementation of the annexation plan on the ground and unleashing the Settlements Council in the Jordan Valley by granting it administrative powers and the right to act in any way it deems fit in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Ibrahim Daraghmeh, one of the stalls owners, said that he was surprised that settlers from the Settlements Council handed him written notices ordering him and other stalls owners to remove their stalls and fining them.
He told WAFA that in the past two years, the occupation soldiers have demolished their stalls twice, but this is the first time that they have received notifications from the Settlements Council. In previous times, the so-called Civil Administration, an arm of the Israeli military government, handed them the orders.
Daraghmeh explained that these stalls are all they have to earn a living for their families and demolishing them means losing their only source of livelihood.
Ahmad Fuqaha, another stall owner, explained that the members of the Settlers Council not only delivered the notifications to them in the morning, but returned in the evening and threatened them at gunpoint.
He said he has partners in the stall where he works and that three families live of it, and therefore demolishing them means losing the only source of livelihood for these families. He stressed that this is the only work that remains available for them, all residents of the Jordan Valley, after the Israeli occupation and the settlers have restricted their livelihoods to a point they could no longer work in herding, raising livestock, or in farming after closing off large areas of the Jordan Valley lands, seizing them and going after the shepherds.
Human rights activist Aref Daraghmeh confirmed that this is the first time for the Settlements Council to act individually and issue notifications that stated that these stalls are located in an area under the authority of the Settlements Council, noting that the stalls are located near the northern and central Jordan Valley villages.
He considered what happened as a process to impose a de-facto policy on the Jordan Valley in granting the right to administer the area and act in it to the Settlements Council, a step done with the complicity and planning of the occupation government since the Settlements Council is part of it and does not take any action without government consent.
Qassem Awwad, who documents Israeli violations in the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission, said these notifications means that the occupation government gave powers to the Settlements Council to take administrative measures related to buildings and residents in the Jordan Valley in the interests of the settlements without any regard for the Palestinian rights, and these powers are consistent with the ambitions and plans of the settlers to take over the entire region.
This means transferring indirectly the administrative powers in these areas to the Settlements Council to be the decision-making body in Area C of the occupied West Bank, thus eliminating any opportunity for development in this area for the Palestinian citizens who have the right to the land while at the same time granting full powers over these areas to the settlers, he said.
With this step, the Israeli occupation government gives the settlers a free hand in the Jordan Valley in general, which means implementing the annexation plan on the ground by telling the settlers that they can run it as Israeli land.
The dangerous part of this step and its consequences, according to Awwad, lies in the closure of large areas of the Jordan Valley and placing them under the authority of the settlements with legislation from the occupation government, and second, which is more dangerous, is that whoever stands in the way of the settlement projects in the area will be considered to be breaking the law and will be dealt with by the Settlements Council. directly.