TUBAS (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Wednesday declared a vast area of private Palestinian land in the northern Jordan Valley a closed military zone in preparation to confiscate the land, an official said.
Ribhi al-Khandaqji, the governor of the Tubas district, said in a statement that the land was located in the Ein al-Sakut area and measured about 10,000 dunams (2,500 acres).
The statement said al-Khandaqji went to the area along with landowners, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, and human rights organizations, but Israeli authorities declared the area a closed military zone, preventing tractors from plowing the land.
"We launched a campaign to plow and plant in the lands slated for confiscation," the governor said in the statement.
He said the land, located near the Jordanian border, had been controlled by the Israeli military for decades, and that parts of it used to be covered in mines.
The Israeli army recently evacuated the area after they removed the mines, the statement said. Since then, Israeli settlers have been controlling the land and have already planted in vast areas.