Israel Allocates West Bank Firing Zones for Settlement Expansion

TEL AVIV, December 9, 2014 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities have in recent years earmarked around 35,000 dunams of land in the West Bank, currently used by the Israeli army as firing zones, for the purposes of settlement expansion, Tuesday said the Israeli daily Haaretz.

In the 1970s, approximately a million dunams in the West Bank were declared firing zones for the exclusive use of the Israel army, according to Haaretz. Until the 1990s, such areas were used extensively for training.

After the Israeli military moved training bases to southern Israel following the Oslo Accords, the use of firing zones in the West Bank declined and most are now abandoned or used only sporadically for training, said the Israeli daily.

Nevertheless, the Israeli army continues to control these areas, keeping Palestinians out and demolishing buildings that are sometimes constructed there.

In May 2014, the account of an Israeli army officer that military trainings in live-fire zones in the West Bank are a justification to reduce the number of Palestinians living in close proximity, hit the headlines of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies on Tuesday.