JVS activity report Jan – July 2015
In 2015 the work of Jordan Valley Solidarity has been relentless, as has the repression meted out on Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley by the occuaption that aims to destroy our lives and livlihoods on a daily basis.
As we use mudbricks for all our building work, a machine to speed this process up has been vital to our development. Having previously made all our mudbricks by hand we designed and custom built our own mudbrick machine early in 2015. The machine delivers 3 tonnes of pressure to the mixture we put in. This mix comes out of the machine in the form of four bricks at a time.
In April JVS decided to build a Centre in Fasayal to serve the local community. The aim was to provide a space for children’s activities as well as a place to meet, discuss and educate people about the situation in the Jordan Valley. It provides a free space for workshop, training and meeting both for the JVS and for the community to social and cultural purposes. With the help of local Palestinians and International Volunteers we began making mudbricks for the building early in May. Making the mixture of earth, limestone and straw mainly by hand we were producing an average of 80-100 bricks a day. In the second week we dug the foundations and constructed a wooden frames. As the 95% of Jordan valley Fusayil is in area C, where local people are sistematically denied any permission to build. In this sense, the construction of a community Centre from the JVS volunteers is a direct challenge to the occupation.
Reporting and Solidarity with families affected by Israeli house demolitions
JVS constantly runs report activities on the Israeli politics of house demolitions in theJordan Valley. House demolitions are a Israeli illegal tool to make the life of Palestinians impossible and force them to silently leave the area (C) in order to easily annex it. JVS also try to help the families affected by this politic in re-building the destroyed houses through fund raising activities. With the help of Palestinian and international volunteers Jordan Valley families were provided of food, tends and water. Also, the Jordan Valley Solidarity Movement try to offer legal support in order to contest Israeli house demolitions orders in the court. Houses were been demolished in El Jiftlik, Ein Korziliya, Al Hadidiya, Khirbet Bzikik, Khermel Um Al Jamal, Makool, where more then 60 houses were demolished and several families forcibly displaced.
Solidarity with families affected by Army training
JVS constantly reports the number of cases in which Palestinians were forced to evacuate their house in order to allowed Israeli military activities and training to took place in the area. Because of Israeli occupation forces military training, Palestinians are always put in danger of being injured, killed, forced to leave their house or to fix the damages. JVS Volunteers also recorded IDF movements and activity in the area, in order to help the people threatened by evacuation order to resist. One of the way to resist is to stay with the farmers and the community in the area, protecting the families, the community and their agricultural livelihood. Volunteers are also involved in directly helping and supporting the families forced to abandon their houses with tends, food and water.
Also JVS submit petitions to UN, Embassy and NGOs to take action in order to protect community in the military training area, where often the occupation forces plan to carry military exercises using live munitions putting at risk the lives of thousands of Palestinians. Not only institutions are addressed by JVS but also international volunteers. They could be helpful in donating money to support the Jordan valley families, in writing to their own representatives in order to force the Israeli government to put an end to the ethnic cleansing perpetrated to Palestinians and in building networking between Ngo’s to speak loud to protect the rights of Jordan Valley children and women.
The JVS is also an active member of the Land Defense Coalition, a group of local association and Ngo’s which try to resist the Israeli occupation and continuous threat to annexation of the Jordan Valley. The Land Defense Coalition often submit letters to the EU Commission, for example asking for the suspension of EU-Israel Association Agreement and immediate exclusion of Israeli military and security companies from EU funding Cycle Horizon2020.
There has been three military training:
- 19 January: 19 families were evacuated from Ibziq in Al Maleh Area
- 3-10th of May: Families were evacuated from Humsa, Ibziq, Hammamat Al Maleh, and Furush Beit Dejan. Hundreds of armed jeeps, tanks, and soldiers have been deployed in villages throughout the Jordan Valley.
- 26th May 2015: 4 families evacuated from Ibziq, also in Al Maleh area.
JVS try to support farmers affected by the occupation forces and the settlers politics of destroying Palestinian farmer’s trees. The JVS works in conjunction with the Palestinian farmer union to replenish the trees (Orange, Lemon, Avocado, Olive, Guave, Cocumber and Tomato) in order to give the farmers the possibility to farm their land, allowing shade in the hot months and providing habitat for wildlife. Also volunteers work with the local community to reinstate running water and renovate water wells, often destroyed by the occupation forces in order to deny Palestinians to use their water to farm their land. One trees planting project as been developed in Fasayil Al-Wusta. It aims to change the reality for the community that lives there, offering an immediate impact and improving the life of the people while taking direct action to challenge the occupation: trees planting offer the possibility to the families to have their own income and to prevent the Israeli to confiscate the land. Also it represents a possibility to work for the people of the community, removing them to work in the settlements.
Resistance through Culture and Theatre
JVS has run several project in partnership with both the Freedom Theatre of Jenin and the Ashtar Theatre of Ramallah. It has hosted for several days artist from the Freedom bus, a tour all around Palestine organized by the Freedom Theatre. Artists from the Freedom Bus had the possibility to listen activists, people and communities of the Jordan Valley, with detailed explaination of the situation in the area. Artists performed the stories which had been told them from the people of the different villages, helped the JVS volunteers in doing brick and plant olives trees.
Furthermore , toghether with the artists of the Ashtar theatre, JVS has been able to gather a group of 6/10 people of the Jordan Valley communities to perform their daily life on the stage, depicting the situation and the suffering that they are living under the occupation.
This experience, called “theatre of the oppressed”, enabled the contact between the actors,the audience and the members of the local community and has lead the Jordan valley artist group to participate at the Ashtar Festival realized in 2015.