Occupation to Annexation: Israel Targets The Jordan Valley
Resistance across the occupied territories is growing to Israel's planned annexation of Palestinian land, this time in the West Bank and Jordan Valley.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu planned to start the annexation on 1st July, and although that date has passed, he says he is in dialogue with the White House to start annexing settlements in the West Bank and eventually the Jordan Valley.
For Palestinians living in the valley, the vast majority of which is occupied by the Israeli Army, the daily reality is harassment at checkpoints, water restrictions and evictions. And whether Netanyahu's plans go ahead, Jordan Valley residents, like farmer Anwar Fuqha, believe that the occupation is "annexation by default".
The illegal settlements in the West Bank have contributed to a demographic change in the West Bank that human rights experts believe equates to a gradual annexation of the territory. Although Palestinians have been evicted from their homes for decades to make way for settlements, Settler Leader Oded Revivi says, "nobody's going to be moved out of his house. No house is going to be demolished."
But it appears that the demolitions have already started. Ibrahim Abu Dahouk, a farmer living just north of Jericho, said the army came and destroyed his home in mid-June: "They destroyed our housing units and they took our wood, air conditioners and water tanks." Soldiers also told him to go to Jericho, which will be the only Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley under the annexation plans.
In Jericho, the protesters said their resistance will remain non-violent until 1st July, but their response with change "depending on the international community's decision."
As of 2nd July, sanctions have been threatened by a few members of the international community, but few in Palestine believe they will have any real impact.
"Through Israel's influence in Europe, I believe that even if there would be sanctions, they wouldn't really affect the Israeli state," said researcher Abdelaziz Al-Salhi in Ramallah. "We should go back to the popular struggle in our fight against the Zionist occupation in Palestine."
The struggle has started again, and there has even been signs of resistance from Israeli protesters in the capital Tel Aviv: "It's our responsibility as Israeli citizens, to resist the annexation plan and resist the occupation."
"We are about to witness a new era of the liberation movement" says Omar Shehadeh, a veteran of the anti-occupation movement and politician from PFLP, once part of the armed resistance in the West Bank.
"And we're choosing intifada and resistance."