The Israeli army has started to place cement blocks on the smaller roads leading from villages in the occupied West Bank to the Jordan Valley, Wafa news agency has reported. Local witnesses say that the Israeli army is preparing the ground for the physical separation of the territory in advance of the political separation under Israel's annexation plan.
According to the head of Al-Mughayyer village council, Amin Abu Elia, the army placed cement blocks on the road that leads from the village to a highway called Allon Road, which leads to the Jordan Valley. Blocks were also placed on a road that leads to the nearby villages of Kufr Malik, east of Ramallah, and Duma, south of Nablus. That is where, added Abu Elia, a metal gate will be installed to limit access between the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
Around 56,000 Palestinians live in the Jordan Valley. The Israeli occupation has a major impact on all aspects of their daily lives.
Obstacles are placed regularly on roads by the army and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), an army unit, to block access to Palestinian villages, farmland and water sources. Palestinian farmland is often turned into closed-off "military zones". COGAT is responsible for overseeing building permits (rarely granted to Palestinians), water, agriculture, road construction and other civil matters in Area C.
Palestinian estimates indicate that the Israeli annexation plan will cover more than 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank.