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Israeli forces confiscate cattle, water tanks from Jordan Valley community

Sept. 12, 2017 5:09 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 13, 2017 10:56 A.M.)
Bedouin shepherds walk past tents setup in the Jordan Valley near West Bank city of Jericho. (AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities reportedly confiscated cattle and water tanks belonging to Palestinians in a remote Jordan Valley village, east of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Tuesday, according to Wafa news agency.

Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the area, told Wafa that staff from the Israeli Civil Administration accompanied by a Israeli army forces confiscated a number of cows belonging to Jamal Daraghmeh in the village of Um al-Ubor, located in the far eastern outskirts of the Jordan Valley.

He said Israeli forces also confiscated dozens of water tanks, which "are badly needed for the local community who live off farming and herding," according to the report.

A spokesperson for COGAT, the office in charge of Israel's civil administration unit in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma'an that the "cow owners entered the military firing zone with them (cows) without obtaining the required permits while exposing themselves to life threatening danger."

"Despite the requests of the inspectors, the residents refused to leave the firing zone therefore they were arrested. The two cows were transferred to the roving animal station in the Jordan Valley and the water tanks were seized by the enforcement authorities," the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson also noted that "this is not the first time that these residents have entered the firing zones without obtaining the necessary permits."

The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C -- under full Israeli military control.
Demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure and residences occur frequently in Area C, with the Jordan Valley’s Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to such policies.

The incident came days after Israeli forces confiscated Palestinian-owned agricultural machinery in the northern Jordan Valley region. COGAT said the vehicles "were found illegally in the fire zone 901. Staying in a fire zone poses a significant and illegal life risk."

Rights groups have said that Israeli military training zones, known as a "firing zones," are used as a pretext to fully annex portions of the occupied West Bank.

Nearly 20 percent of the occupied West Bank has been declared "firing zones" since the 1970s, but according to the UN, some 80 percent of these areas are not in fact used for military training. However, when military training does take place, Israel forces families to leave their homes for hours or days at a time until the drill is over.
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