In January a delegation led by the Council for Arab British Understanding (Caabu) and Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) including British MPs Liam Byrne and Gavin Shuker visited Furush Beit Dajan in the Jordan Valley. The visit, coordinated by EWASH member Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), heard how the Israeli occupation was choking the community’s access to water.
“Water is the single biggest issue facing us” Said Azzem, a PARC representative and Furush Beit Dajan resident. He explained to the delegation that while the Israeli settlements surrounding the village faced no restrictions on accessing water resources, Palestinians are only able to extract water from their wells up to a depth of 80m, leaving farmers unable to obtain the quantity or quality of water necessary to effectively irrigate their crops.
Azzem also explained that following the occupation of the West Bank in 1967 the Israeli army seized all agricultural lands in the area and that the farmers now have to face the indignity of renting their own land back from the Israelis.
The delegation were shown projects completed by EWASH members Save the Children and ACCP including the establishment of a women’s farming cooperative.
Liam Byrne, a Member for Parliament and the Shadow Universities Minister, told local farmers and PARC representatives that people in the UK were becoming more switched on about what was taking place in the occupied territories and that “no injustice can last forever”.