Mass Demolitions in Jordan Valley

11 Feb
11:30 PM

Israeli forces, on Thursday, destroyed over 40 Palestinian homes and structures in the Tubas district of the occupied West Bank, as ongoing Israeli policies in the Jordan Valley continue to drive Palestinians out of their homes.A Palestinian official from the governor’s office in Tubas, Mutaz Bsharat, said that Israeli forces and bulldozers stormed the Palestinian communities of al-Farisiya and Khallet al-Khader and demolished seven homes, displacing seven families.

Forces also demolished 35 structures in the Bardala and Ein al-Baida communities, Bsharat added.
Tubas Mayor Rabih Khandaqji told Ma’an that local and international organizations were carrying out efforts to aid Palestinians displaced during the demolitions and to rebuild destroyed structures.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) did not have immediate information on the demolitions.

Israel has carried out near-daily demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territory since the start of this month and destroyed 42 Palestinian-owned structures in the last week of January alone, displacing 168 people, including 94 children.

The communities targeted in Thursday’s demolitions are all located in Area C, the over 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control where building permits are near-impossible for Palestinians to obtain from Israel.

As a result, Palestinian communities are forced to build illegally and face the constant threat of demolition and displacement.

Threats of displacement for the thousands of Palestinian Bedouins living in the Jordan Valley in particular have reportedly increased dramatically since 2012, according to Ma’an News Agency.

Rights groups argue that Israel aims to fully annex the strategic area of land and is unlikely to return the occupied area to Palestinians.

In addition to demolition, Israeli rights group B’Tselem, earlier this month, pointed to the use of Israeli military training exercises as a means of forcible displacement of Palestinians from the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians are frequently ordered to evacuate their villages during military trainings, and B’Tselem reported that military exercises carried out last month caused severe damage to crops belonging to Palestinian communities.

The group said that while no Israeli official has ever issued statement regarding how military training grounds are chosen, “the apparent selectiveness uncovers the motivation behind it — dispossession.”

Three weeks ago, Israel announced the confiscation of 1,540 dunams (380 acres), of land near Jericho in the Valleys,” adding that the lands are in the final stages of being declared state lands.”

This seizure is the largest appropriation in the West Bank since August of 2014, according to the PNN.

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IMEMC Agencies

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