A letter from… the Jordan Valley
We met a lot of farmers today [Friday]. This is the house of Huzan Drajmeh and his family of six, whose village has the bad luck to find itself in a part of Palestinian territory where Palestinian presence is particularly disliked by the Israeli army.
They are allowed to farm their land, but the water supply is limited to say the least: the village of 7000 share half as much water as nearby Israeli newcomers get per person. Their electric supply is basically a long flex on the ground.
And the army knocks down their houses. Huzan’s was demolished 9 days ago, for the 4th time in three months.
“They come with a big force,” he told me, “200 or 300 soldiers, armed vehicles, fully equipped. You cannot do anything. The first time they took us out by force, and demolished everything. They threw our luggage and belongings out, and destroyed it, our fridge, our air conditioning, our possessions.”
Perhaps the army see them as a threat to security, though it’s not exactly obvious how. Huzan’s alternative interpretation agrees with what former Israeli soldiers have told us: the hounding of Palestinians is nothing to do with security and everything to do with making their life impossible so they go away. One soldier said: “These measures don’t make anybody safer, they just make Palestinians suffer and leave”. Huzan said: “The Israelis aim to get us out of here and empty the area so they can completely control it.”
We were taken around by a local organisation called PARC, which aims to improve their agricultural methods, access to markets and social arrangements so brilliantly that they can survive where they are, despite all the disruption.
Christian Aid’s Christmas appeal is focussing on its work in Israel-Palestine, and there’s no part of Christmas I’m looking forward to more than chipping in for it.
See www.christian-aid.org.uk/christmas for details.
(Picture credit: Tom Pilston/Christian Aid)