A new report from UK charity Oxfam called “On the Brink: The Impact of Settlements on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley” has revaled that Jewish Supremacist settlement expansion and restrictions on Palestinians are destroying the viability of a future Palestinian state.
The report revealed that that Palestinians can use only 6% of the land in the area, while settlers, who account for 13% of the population, have control over 86% of its land. The poverty rate for Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley is nearly double that of the rest of the West Bank, it adds.
The economic potential of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank is being jeopardised by Israeli settlement activity.
The study suggests Palestinians could generate an extra £1bn ($1.5bn) a year if restrictions to their use of land, water and movements were removed.
About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law.
“These discriminatory policies and practices have pushed more Palestinians into poverty and are destroying the prospects for two states living side by side in security and peace,” Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International was quoted as saying.
The Jordan Valley – most of which lies within the eastern strip of the West Bank – is about 120km long (75 miles) and 15km wide.
Oxfam says about 66,000 Palestinians and 9,500 settlers live in the area. Most of the Palestinians live in 20 permanent communities, including the city of Jericho, though thousands live in temporary communities.
At the same time, the group says, Israel has allocated almost exclusive use of the valley’s water resources to the 28 Jewish settlements in the area, to the detriment of Palestinian communities.
“The Jordan Valley… has the potential to be the Palestinian bread basket, yet restrictions on Palestinians use of land, water, and on building in the valley are keeping them poor while helping nearby Israeli settlements thrive,” the report says.