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Occupation magazine - Activism

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Alternative Independence Day Ceremony : Lighten a Beacon in Jerusalem
Daphne Banai

I, Daphne Banai, Machsomwatch activist, am glad to light a beacon in honor of
the legitimate residents of the Palestinian Jordan Valley, in the name of all
these modest and brave people whose sole wish it is to be free in their country
and upon their own land, and whose homes my country turns into their prison. It
demolishes their houses, arrests their sons, seals their wells and steals their
water, handing it over to a handful of settlers who sit upon the ruins of their
villages, occupied and destroyed in 1967. Since then Israel has coveted the
beautiful, fertile eastern part of the West Bank. All Israeli governments have
tried to annex the Palestinian Jordan Valley in order to isolate the West Bank
from the outside world. The Jordan Valley is vitally essential to Palestine
because it is the bridge to Jordan. Without it, the West Bank will be stifled
and sealed like Gaza and entirely dependent on Israel. For this very reason
Israel fights to keep and deepen its grip of the Jordan Valley.
The entire settlement project in the Palestinian Jordan Valley has been geared
to this end. Since it is easier to annex a region cleansed of its inhabitants,
Israel tries to expel the indigenous, legitimate residents through constant
harassment expulsion, land expropriation, house demolitions, denial of water
and prevention of free movement.
The harshest checkpoints are not located between the West Bank and Israel. They
separate the Palestinian totally non-violent Jordan Valley and the West Bank:
gates, deep ditches and dirt piles block children from their school, patients
from hospitals and medical care, farmers and their fields and grazing and the
possibility to market their produce in the West Bank.
Many have given up in desperation and left. 60,000 others, however, cling to
their land. With parched throats and endless hardship they gaze with longing at
the bright green plantations of the 8000 lords of the land who sit upon their
land and exploit its splendor.
Recently the Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley have been organizing in
a popular resistance movement whose mode of struggle is non-violent and is
manifested in building without the occupiers permission and support of all
those struggling to hold on to their land. Their motto To exist is to
resist. The soil of the Jordan Valley serves them to form building blocks in
the tradition of their forefathers, from which they construct schools, clinics
and homes. Laying pipes at night to supply water to an isolated encampment, and
especially their spirit and fortitude these are their weapons.
To the Palestinians of the Jordan Valley and to the Jordan Valley Solidarity
movement I wish to dedicate this beacon.
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