Sunday, May 31, 2020

Jenin Diaries: Burried Jewels, But Where?

By Editor - June 26, 2012
Section: [Main News] [Features]
Tags: [Jenin Diaries ]

By Ala’ Haitham Abed 

Koufrdan is a small village located a few kilometers west of the Palestinian city of Jenin. Its wells provide the main source of water for Palestinian farmers in the area due to its large amount of groundwater. It is the only village in the governorate of Jenin which produces large quantities of water from its springs.

Many of the wells are presently defunct. There were too many water sources, allowing farmers to take as much water as they like. The Israeli Occupation Forces were not pleased about that.

Ten years ago, the Israeli army began to forcefully shut down the wells in an attempt to assert their control of water sources in the Jenin governorate. Residents believed that Israel wanted to control the wells in order to begin transferring it to nearby settlements in the future as well to control the price of water in the area.

The Abdul Latif Well, the most important well in Jenin, received a license from the Jordanian government in the 1960s. It was the first well in the area and is the largest one in the Jenin governorate.

This well was drilled at the time of the Jordanian government. We drilled in 1964 and started running the well in 1969

Mr. Mahmoud is the owner of the Abdul Latif Well.“This well,” he said, “was drilled at the time of the Jordanian government. We drilled in 1964 and started running the well in 1969. The well produced about 120 cups of water per hour. In the beginning, local farmers began extracting water from it for their own farms in addition to selling water to more than 100 other farmers in the area. After a while, other wells began to pop up all over the place as farmers began to dig their own. There was supposed to be a distance of 200 meters between each well, but as time went by, wells were often only 100 meters away from each other. Now there are more than 250 wells in the area without a permit. My well, the Abdul Latif well, is running low – the cause of my drought must be directly related to all of the new surrounding wells.”

There are other reasons for the Abdul Latif Well’s drought. The Israeli Occupation Forces, Mr. Mahmoud states, have repeatedly closed his well. “They have prevented us from digging wells deeper than 200 meters, a measure we believe is necessary in order to restore the well to its former production. Although we have kept in touch with the Palestinian Ministry of Water and Ministry of Agriculture, we have yet to receive a penny. We have been forced to pay for the wells’extension out of our own pockets.”

“There are many foreign associations that might be able to assist us financially in our repairs. We agreed that if we allowed them to take the water, they would provide us with electricity, pumps, pipes, and tanks. The foreign associations only provide money to their own local branches here, not to individuals – so the only way can re-open our well is if we make a deal similar to this.”



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