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Salt of the Earth: Palestinian Activists Reclaim and Defend Jordan Valley's Arab History

by Abby Zimet

In a new campaign seeking to reaffirm Arab history in the West Bank's contested Jordan Valley, hundreds of Palestinian activists and residents have erected an encampment in the ruins of Ein Hijleh, an ancient Arab village forcibly depopulated in the 1967 war, and successfully repelled three attempts by Israeli forces to storm it. Despite Israel's closing off the area to media and everyone else, setting up "flying" checkpoints and arresting at least nine people, activists are reportedly still arriving and campers are still getting food and other supplies from nearby communities. The action - dubbed Milh al-Ard or “Salt of the Earth” - comes in response to Israel's ongoing destruction of Palestinian homes and other colonizing moves in the water-rich Jordan Valley, which the U.N. has condemned. Organizers say the new encampment is even more vital than other similar actions because it renews their historic connection to the area.

“This is different because we are actually reclaiming a Canaanite village that used to exist, actually linking it to our Palestinian history on the land and our existence (here).”



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