TUBAS, Monday, October 17, 2022 (WAFA) – The Israeli occupation authorities today notified the Municipal Council of Khirbet A‘tuf village, southeast of Tubas, of their intention to uproot tens of thousands of forest trees from the area, according to a local activist.

Mu‘taz Bsharat said that the occupation authorities handed the Municipal Council a notice to remove 30,000 forest trees planted in a 1600-donum pasture reserve.

Head of the Municipal Council, Abdullah Bsharat, said that the trees were planted by the Council and Ministry of Agriculture with funds from international donors, explaining that the military notice to uproot the trees, dated October 6, was found out today in the reserve.

The Jordan Valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.

Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.

The Israel military has also designated about 46 percent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since the beginning of the occupation in June 1967, and has been utilizing the pretext of military drills to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing and stifling Palestinian development in the area.

Approximately 6,200 Palestinians live in 38 communities in places earmarked for military use and have had to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter and live in their communities.

In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only temporarily displaces the communities on a regular basis, but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.

Besides undergoing temporary displacement, the Palestinian families living there face a myriad restrictions on access to resources and services. Meanwhile, Israel exploits the resources of the area and generates profit by allocating generous tracts of land and water resources for the benefit of settlers.

Israeli politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the highly strategic Jordan Valley would remain under their control in any eventuality.