Jiftlik Village, soaked by water but suffering thirst

Jiftlik Village, soaked by water but suffering thirst
Violation: water shortage threatens the village.
Perpetrators: the Israeli Occupation.
Victims: Jiftlik residents and agriculture in the area.
Date: March, 2011-04-04
Since the Israeli conquest of the West Bank, the Israeli agenda included taking over all the water sources in the West Bank, especially on the eastern side. The Israelis dried out more than 133 wells in addition to imposing rules and laws that allows him to take over water sources and prevent the Palestinians from searching for water. Water distribution is excluded to the Israeli water company “Mikrot” which is the only body allowed to search for water and distribute it.

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It must be noted that Jiftlik is placed over huge ground water well. Nevertheless, it suffers from lack of water thanks to the Israeli measures and policies. The Israeli Occupation considers the area, a border area; the Israelis hindered any development efforts in the area in addition to considering most of the village area a closed military zone that no one is allowed to approach. Hence, turning the village green fields into a desert. Fertile lands, warm weather, and availability of water attracted more than 12,000 Palestinians to move into the village, inhabited originally by around 1600 people, and exploit its 32000 dunums of area.
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Regarding water sources, Jiftlik contains 3 natural springs. Previously, these springs’ water used to flow through three channels passing through the village towards the Jordan river. In addition, the village contains 35 wells pumping ground water at an average rate of 140 m3/hour; an average of 4.8 million m3/ year.
The Israeli Occupation Policy towards Jiftlik:
In the 1980’s, the Israeli Occupation has been drying out most of the water springs in and around Jiftlik. Part of these springs turned into semi-springs unable to provide water for agricultural purposes.  The Israeli dug underground channels that turned the direction of the water towards Mikrot tank placed at a mountain summit and feeding the Israeli colonies of Miswa and Hamra built over Jiftlik lands.
The scarcity of water in Jiftlik caused by the low rain season and the Israeli Occupation measures urged the locals to buy their water from the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Dajan.The locals pay an average of 25 NIS per liter of water which is a very high cost. This has drastically affected the agricultural sector in the village causing the area of planted fields to be shrunk into less than 15000 dunums.
The scarcity of water has also affected the biodiversity in the village; in the past, the locals used to plant various types of vegetables, palm, and citrus. However, the high cost of water caused things to change and many of these are hardly seen in the village.
Jiftlik has no Organizational Plan:
According to Oslo Agreement, the Jordan Valley region, including Jiftlik Village, are classified area ‘C’; put under full Israeli control. Jiftlik situation was ought to be discussed during the final state negotiations that seem to never happen. The village circumstance gives the Israeli full unbound freedom to do whatever they wish with the village and its resources.
Houses and fields in the village were turned into Israeli Army training grounds and shooting ranges.The Israeli measures do not seem to be targeting only water, they seem to be targeting the residents as well in an overall Israeli scheme that tends to clear the lands from its Palestinian residents.


Categories: Environment