IPS Annual Conference: The Situation and Future of Area C and the Jordan Valley
Large scale annexation of Palestinian land has gained attention recently. More specifically, there is considerable discussion among Israeli parties about the necessity of annexing Area C and all of the Jordan Valley. Still, others have suggested annexation of all of the West Bank. This discussion emerges from a context of deepening settler-colonization of the West Bank, Jerusalem, as well as the distortion of the natural and human landscape. This colonization is taking place in the context of the obstruction of the Oslo process and its transformation into a sustainable structure of Israeli hegemony, in addition to the inability of the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian political and civil society to create viable alternatives that challenge this reality. Perhaps, what is happening in the Jordan Valley and Area C is as important as the question of the Palestinian struggle itself and the situation in Jerusalem. For Palestinians, the Jordan Valley and Area C mean geographic contiguity, sovereignty, and control over any future border as well as for Palestinian national security. The natural resources of these two regions provide the breadbasket of Palestinian society and the future Palestinian state. Despite that fact, the subject of the Jordan Valley and Area C has not garnered the attention that it deserves from community activists, media outlets, or development organizations.
In 2012, the Institute for Palestine Studies brought the situation of the Jordan Valley and Area C to light with its annual conference on the situation of the Jordan Valley and contributed to the increased attention of this central part of the Palestinian struggle. The conference papers covered various dimensions of the situation including its related demographic, geographic, economic, security and ideological struggles. Papers also highlighted various modes of popular steadfastness, the positions of international state actors, and the possibilities of national development. However, the reality of colonization, dangerous political developments, and the regional, national, and local struggles, have only bolstered the Israeli extreme right-wing in their demands for annexation. This situation is exacerbated by the distorted and divisive Palestinian positions that have weakened the visions for the future.