Police Commissioner, Dudi Cohen, determined that defense forces acted appropriately during the Havat Gilad incident last week, when 15 Jewish settlers were injured when a Civil Administration team showed up at the illegal outpost with police forces, to demolish the newly built structures. A clash ensued in which settlers threw rocks at the forces and the police were forced to shoot plastic bullets. Eight activists were brought into police custody.
And on a more positive note, to the side of the Jordan Valley road, greenhouses and long palm trees ornament the vista, demonstrating the economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians.
Amid al-Masri, an agricultural landowner in the Jordan Valley said:
“Cooperation between us and Israel began at the end of the second intifada because we had much to learn from you…We cooperate with many Israeli companies on issues like de-infestation, irrigation and seedlings.”
A foreman at one of the Palestinian Authority’s foremost agricultural companies, Omad Hossam a-Zorbe, said:
“This project is funded by USAID and we now have 200 dunams (49.4 acres) of greenhouses. Most of the produce is for export, and whatever is left gets sent to the local market.”
Palestinian farmers are exporting their produce to countries with which they have trade agreements, through Israeli companies. Palestinians farmers also export produce from the Valley to Israeli farmers, bypassing the boycott of myriad European countries and economic bodies.
The Civil Administration is the organization supervising the cooperation; and is also responsible for instructing farmers and making sure they meet tough Israeli health standards.
An officer at the Civil Administration’s agriculture section, Samir Muaddi, said:
“We’re working with farmers and the Palestinian agriculture ministry to help them market their produce in Israel and make sure that the product we get is of a certain quality…Palestinians take part in seminars on modern agriculture and are exposed to Israeli and international innovations through the administration.”
Mazen Snokrut, the one-time Palestinian Economy Minister and now packing-house owner praised the project:
“This project is the best example of a win-win situation,” “This is an Israeli-Palestinian connection that has created trust between the two sides. We are working with no enemies here. We have joint creation with many companies from the Israeli economy – we buy their technology and seedlings and through them export to Europe and the US and even have Israeli agronomists here.”