Palestinians in the northern Jordan Valley have been denied access to a natural water spring by Israeli settlers who have taken over the area and closed its entrances. The spring, known as Ain al-Bayda, is located near the eastern border with Jordan and was once a source of irrigation and recreation for the local farmers and residents.
According to human rights activists, Ain al-Bayda is what remains of the Palestinian village of Khirbet al-Sakut, which was demolished and depopulated by the Israeli occupation in 1967. The village’s lands were turned into buffer zones planted with mines, until 10 years ago when the Israeli occupation removed the minefields and handed them over to the settlement council for expansion.
The spring’s water was also diverted by the Israeli water company Mekorot, which drilled a well nearby to supply the Israeli settlement of Mehola with water. As a result, the spring dried up and lost its freshness and fertility.
The closure of Ain al-Bayda’s gates has deprived thousands of Palestinians from benefiting from its water and land, and has also disrupted the ecological paths that start from the nearby village of Ain al-Bayda and roam different areas in the Jordan Valley. These paths were meant to preserve the abandoned lands from annexation and confiscation.
The Palestinians have appealed to the international community and human rights organizations to intervene and stop the Israeli violations of their rights and resources in the Jordan Valley, which is considered one of the most fertile and strategic regions in Palestine.