Khadeeja Bisharat, a Palestinian artist, displays a conflict-inspired artwork she painted, in Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 18, 2020. (Reuters Photo)
Amid the barren hills of the Jordan Valley, Palestinian artist Khadeeja Bisharat paints scenes of bulldozers and demolitions, a reflection of fears of what may happen to her isolated Bedouin community if Israel annexes land in the occupied West Bank, reported Reuters.
Some 15,000 Palestinians live in tiny pastoral encampments scattered across the Jordan Valley. Israel has pledged to extend its sovereignty over the territory – some 30% of the West Bank – with cabinet-level discussion on the move set to begin July 1.
“This affects our psychological wellbeing and the children’s wellbeing … Will they allow residents to stay? Will they demolish their houses?” Bisharat, 37, said from her Bedouin encampment in the northern Jordan Valley.
She says she has tried to express her fear and uncertainty through paintings, among them a watercolor depicting women gathered around a demolished home and a scene of a yellow bulldozer approaching a tin Bedouin shack.
“I try to convey a message of how the occupation impacts us, the violations we are subjected to,” the mother-of-three said.
She said she felt surrounded, far from areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and exposed to Israeli demolition of farm shacks erected by her community.
Israel has cited a lack of proper permits, required in parts of the West Bank under complete Israeli military control, in issuing demolition orders.
However, Peace Now, an Israeli advocacy group that opposes Israel’s settlement policy, says most Palestinian applications for building permits are rejected.
On May 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed his pledge to annex part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank in July.
Palestinians have expressed outrage, appealing to the international community to block the Israeli step, which, if implemented, would be considered the final nail in the two-state solution’s coffin.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on May 19 that the PA is canceling all agreements with Israel and the US, as a direct response to Israel’s annexation plans.