Oct 13, 2010

#BDS: Palestine: BDS movement recalls anti-apartheid tactics, responsibilities and controversies

October 13, 2010 -- On a full-day drive through the Jordan Valley late last month, we skirted the Earth’s oldest city and lowest inhabited point, 400 metres below sea level. For 10,000 years, people have lived along the river that separates the present-day West Bank and Jordan.
Since 1967 the river has been augmented by Palestinian blood, sweat and tears, ending in the Dead Sea, from which no water flows; it only evaporates. Conditions degenerated during Israel’s land-grab, when from a peak of more than 300,000 people living on the west side of the river, displacements shoved Palestinian refugees across into Jordan and other parts of the West Bank. The valley has fewer than 60,000 Palestinians today.
But they’re hanging in. “To exist is to resist”, insisted Fathi Ikdeirat, the Save the Jordan Valley (http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org) network’s most visible advocate (and compiler of an exquisite new book of the same name, free for internet download at http://www.maan-ctr.org/pdfs/exit.pdf). At top speed on the bumpy dirt roads, Ikdeirat maneuvered between Israeli checkpoints and through Bedouin outposts in the dusty semi-desert, where oppressed communities eke out a living from the dry soil.
Just a few hundred metres away from such villages, like plush white South African suburbs drawing on cheap black township labour, stand some of the 120 Israeli settlements that since the early 1970s have pocked the West Bank. The most debilitating theft is of Palestinian water, for where once peasants gathered enough from local springs and a mountain aquifer to supply ponds that fed their modest crops, today pipe diversions by the Israelis’ agro-export plantations leave the indigenous people’s land scorched.
From the invaders’ fine houses, amid groves of trees with green lawns, untreated sewage is flushed into the Palestinian areas. The most aggressive Israeli settlers launch unpunished physical attacks on the Palestinians, destroying their homes and farm buildings – and last week even a mosque at Beit Fajjar, near Bethlehem was attacked.

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