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Israel orders evacuation of 4 families in Jordan Valley

Aug. 2, 2018 10:27 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2018 3:54 P.M.)
TUBAS (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities delivered eviction notices on Wednesday to four Palestinian families near the village of Khirbet al-Yirza, east of Tubas in the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank under the pretext of conducting military operations.

According to human rights activist, Aref Daraghmeh, Israeli authorities handed over eviction notices to Faysal Masaid, Ismail Masaid, Jamal Daraghmeh, and Muhammad Daraghmeh, ordering them to leave their tents and homes.

Daraghmeh added that the delivered eviction notices were on the pretext of conducting military operations.

The notices had a schedule of the planned times Israeli forces would conduct military operations. The notices stated as follows Monday from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m., Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Tuesday 14/8/2018 from 4 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Thursday 15/8/2018.

Daraghmeh mentioned that Israeli forces had previously demolished the homes of the four mentioned Palestinian families several years ago.

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, meanwhile, 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), 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.

The Israeli rights group B'Tselem has emphasized the detrimental effects such trainings have on communities that are dependent on farming and shepherding. "B’Tselem’s research has found that over the course of the military maneuver, ten sheep and goats died in the evacuated communities. In addition, ammunition remnants from the military training caused fires."

Israeli military training exercises in the Jordan Valley have increased dramatically since 2012 and are one of many tools used to forcibly displace rural Palestinian communities, NGO Jordan Valley Solidarity says, part of a historic process of creeping annexation of the valley by Israel's military.

Forming a third of the occupied West Bank and with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C, the Jordan Valley has long been a strategic area of land unlikely to return to Palestinians following Israel's occupation in 1967.
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