JERICHO, Wednesday, December 16, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today seized two tractors from the villagers of Az-Zubeidat, north of Jericho city, according to local sources.
They confirmed that Israeli soldiers seized the tractors at the entrance of the village.
Horizontally located some 35 kilometers to the north of Jercho, Az-Zubeidat has a population of some 1,800 and occupies a total area of some 4,123 donums.
The villagers are originally Bedouin who were expelled from their lands during the Nakba in 1948. They depend on agriculture and livestock husbandry for their livelihood.
Under the Oslo Accords, an agreement made 25 years ago that was supposed to last just five years towards a self-governing country alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority was given control over a small pocket of land of 36 donums, which account for 1 percent of the village total area. In contrast, the Israeli occupation authorities maintain control over the remainder, classified as Area C.
Israel has severely restricted Palestinian access to underground water sources. The Israeli company of Mekorot has a monopoly over the excavation, restoration and distribution of water, while the villagers are forbidden from constructing new wells or restoring existing ones. The company extracts and diverts large quantities of groundwater for the benefit of the nearby colonial settlements.
Israel has seized thousands of donums of the village area for different purposes, including the construction of the nearby colonial settlement of Argaman and settler-only bypass road 90, pushing the villagers into a crowded enclave, a ghetto, surrounded by walls, settlements and military installations.
The valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.
Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.
In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only temporarily displaces the communities on a regular basis, but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.
Besides undergoing temporary displacement, the Palestinian families living there face a myriad restrictions on access to resources and services. Meanwhile, Israel exploits the resources of the area and generates profit by allocating generous tracts of land and water resources for the benefit of settlers.
Israeli politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the highly strategic Jordan Valley would remain under their control in any eventuality.