Israeli authorities are reportedly planning to evacuate as many as 300 Palestinians from their homes and agricultural lands in the Jordan Valley area of the northern occupied West Bank, according to local sources.
Member of the Jordan Valley municipal council Mahdi Daraghmeh told Maâ€™an News Agency, on Friday, that Israeli forces delivered demolition and evacuation notices to 30 Palestinian families in the Ein al-Hilweh and Umm al-Jamal villages in the northern Jordan Valley on Thursday, Nov. 9th.
The notices, which Daraghmeh said were dated Nov. 1st, gave the residents eight days — until Nov. 9th — to evacuate some 60 homes and structures voluntarily.
Residents are expecting Israeli forces to arrive to the area to demolish the structures anytime now, Daraghmeh said.
He added that the notices were signed by an Israeli army chief in the West Bank, and that the notices mentioned that the lands would be used for illegal Israeli settlement construction.
Earlier on Thursday, reports emerged on plans announced by the Israeli Minister of Housing to increase settlement construction in the Jordan Valley and double the number of settlers residing the area from 6,000 to 12,000.
Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.
The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.
Meanwhile, Israeli rights group Bâ€™Tselem reported that in 2016 Palestinians experienced the highest number of Israeli demolitions since the group began recording the incidents.
At the same time, Peace Now reported that Israelâ€™s illegal settlement construction in the West Bank increased by 34 percent in 2016, with Israeli authorities initiating construction on 1,814 new settler housing units.
(PNN archive image)