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Israeli forces issue stop-work orders, confiscate garbage trucks, tractors in Jordan Valley

Dec. 9, 2016 5:00 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 9, 2016 5:40 P.M.)
TUBAS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces raided several areas in the Jordan Valley district of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank on Thursday, where they confiscated a garbage truck, agricultural tractors, and delivered stop-work orders. 

Palestinian official and local Tubas activist, Mutaz Bisharat told Ma’an that Israeli forces confiscated a garbage truck that belongs to the Tubas Joint Services Council for Solid Waste while the truck was working in the Beit Anon district. 

According to Bisharat, the forces claimed that the truck was working in ‘Area C’ -- the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli security and civilian control -- and was therefore subject to confiscation. 

In the Tubas-area village of Khirbet Ar-Ras Al-Ahmar, that Israeli forces delivered a stop-work order to residents, demanding they stop the construction of a 600-meter long power line that was to run along the main road leading to the village. 

Bisharat added that Israeli forces “declared their intention to demolish” an existing 400 meter line that supplies electricity to the village, under the pretext that the line was constructed in ‘Area C.’ 

Israeli forces also confiscated two agricultural tractors on Wednesday, owned by village residents Muwafaq Daraghma and Ahmad Thiyab, according to Bisharat. 

Bisharat added that Israeli “military trainings” in the area continued for the third consecutive day on Thursday, forcing the temporary evacuation of 12 Palestinian families away from their homes in the village. 

A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Ma'an that on Thursday, "a garbage truck dumped trash in an illegal site and polluted the environment. Therefore, the truck was confiscated in accordance with procedures."

"In addition, the tractors were confiscated [in Khirbet al-Ras al-Ahmar] because they were working on fire zone 901 without the required permits," the statement continued, "as for the demolition of a power line in Ras al-Ahmar, the Civil Administration has no knowledge of the case and we will follow up with it."

Israeli forces last month ordered nine families in the Khirbet al-Ras al-Ahmar village to evacuate their homes for two days in order for the Israeli army to carry out military drills in the area.

Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations and interruption due to Israeli military exercises on or near their land. The district of Tubas is one of the occupied West Bank's most important agricultural centers.

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank. Meanwhile, at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises.

According to the Palestinian nonprofit the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), using data from the Palestine Ministry of Wall and Colonization Affairs, the group reported that more than 400,000 dunams (98,842 acres) of the 720,000 dunams (177,916 acres) that make up the total area of the Jordan Valley has been transformed into closed military and firing zones, with at least 27,000 dunams (6,672 acres) confiscated for illegal Israeli settlement building.

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