Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS
Road near Kibbutz settlement Niran in the Jordan Valley. Jordan Valley, Feb 23, 2020.

Agricultural fields in the Jordan Valley, which the local Arabs claim were destroyed by the “cruel occupation,” are in fact “one of the biggest areas of agricultural annexation and a key Palestinian Authority focus point for the takeover of the Jordan Valley,” TPS has learned.

Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi, a member of the Arab-majority Joint List, posted on Thursday photos of plowed-through agricultural fields supposedly owned by the Arabs of the village of Bardala and which were ruined during IDF training. Tibi wrote that “this is what a field of the Bardala residents in the Jordan Valley looks like after the third day of military training. Cruel. This is what occupation looks like.”


However, a closer examination of the facts and maps shows that the residents of Bardala have illegally taken over an IDF training zone, part of the Palestinian Authority-guided de-facto annexation of Area C in Judea and Samaria, also known as the Fayyad Plan. Area C is under full Israeli control, as per the Oslo Accords.

An aerial map shows that Bardala, situated in Area B under PA civilian administrative control, has overflowed illegally into area C. Bardala is situated right near an IDF training zone and has also invaded this area.

Regavim, an organization that combats the PA’s illegal construction and takeover of the land in Judea and Samaria, has been warning of the PA’s organized takeover of land in Judea and Samaria, also through massive planting in open areas situated at strategic locations.

According to Regavim’s data, between the years 2019-2021, the PA guided the agricultural takeover of 7,125 dunams of land under Israeli control, reaching a total of 93,071 dunams seized in the past decade.

Agricultural activities include cultivating huge areas, planting hundreds of thousands of trees annually, paving agricultural roads at an annual volume of tens of kilometers, and digging water cisterns for irrigation. When continuous agricultural cultivation is carried out, the land actually passes into the hands of the Arab farmers.

The data further shows that the European Union has shifted its financial support for the PA’s illegal activity from construction to agricultural takeover, which occupies the maximum area with minimum investment.

“Bardala is one of the biggest areas of agricultural annexation and a key Palestinian Authority focus point for the takeover of the Jordan Valley,” a Regavim official told TPS.

“The Palestinian Authority is shaping the borders of the Palestinian state with its own hands and setting facts for Israel on the ground. This is a first-class strategic event, which the recent Israeli governments have responded to with inaction,” Meir Deutsch, CEO of Regavim, has warned in recent months.


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.