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Village Destruction in the Jordan Valley

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Burhan Basharat
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British journalist and author Victoria Brittain traveled to the Jordan Valley to see the actual conditions and latest developments in one of the areas under discussion in the peace negotiations John Kerry is conducting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

A people under military occupation, prisoners in their own land, controlled by outside forces, live in the area in which Victoria Brittain traveled.

She later wrote of her mid-January trip and the people she met in Open Democracy. One man she interviewed was Burhan Bisharat (above), whose home in the village of Kirbet al Makhoul has been destroyed four times.

Brittain began her trip northeast of the Palestinian city of Nablus, traveling along a road toward the northern Jordan Valley and the international border with the country of Jordan. The area through which she traveled contains rocky brown hills, riddled with what she describes as "concrete posts every hundred yards inscribed "DANGER' Firing Zone."

Her journey covered one part of Area C, designated as land under Israeli total control under an earlier agreement reached under President Bill Clinton known as Oslo 2. One particular part of Area C in which Brittain traveled is described on UN maps with the occupier's euphemism, "Israel's Nature Reserve." Much of the area map is shaded with the equally euphemistic identification, "an Israeli closed military area."

In her trip report, entitled The Fourth Destruction: Stolen Land and Childhood, she writes:

"Every few miles there are tents or simple structures of Palestinian farms with sheep and cows in makeshift pens visible, set back below the hills. In recent weeks and months defenseless families in this remote place have had their homes and farms repeatedly destroyed by military bulldozers in dawn raids.

"Traumatised barefoot children, silent exhausted mothers, desperate fathers, now living in new shelters, spoke of their every-present fear of army and settler violence."

Mainstream media reports on the Kerry negotiations do not include references to Area C, nor are there any references to the suffering of Palestinians under occupation. Instead, the MSM focuses almost exclusively on Israeli demands which shift as often as a carnival con man shifts his three cups under which he claims he has hidden a pea.

You know the game: At the con man's invitation, the sucker chooses one of the three cups. The sucker bets on which cup contains the pea. He or she, always loses because the cups and pea are under the control of the fast moving hands of the con man.

Who are the suckers in the current peace negotiations? Start with the American government and travel down the chain of command to the American taxpayer. U.S. tax money floods annually into Israeli coffers. Your tax dollar at work, busily destroying villages in the Jordan Valley.

In this current game of cups and the pea, also called peace negotiations, Israel had introduced two new, never before included in negotiations, demands.

The two new Israeli demands are, first, the Palestinians must acknowledge Israel as a "Jewish State," in spite of the obvious fact that a large minority of citizens in any "Jewish State" would be non-Jewish.

The Washington Post pushes the "security claim"...

"The Israelis are insisting that their troops remain in the Jordan Valley corridor in any future Palestinian entity, and since this demand is new -- and was not a core issue in the last serious negotiations in 2000 and 2007 -- it represents a real test for the Obama team's diplomatic ingenuity."

The second new Israeli demand is the retention of a large chunk of the Jordan River Valley, a "necessity" for Israel's "security." The land Israel claims to need for its "security" expands with each new move of the negotiation cups.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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