TUBAS, August 26, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Wednesday notified a nature reserve to the East of Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley, of their intentions to uproot its forest trees, according to a local official.
Motaz Bisharat, in charge of the Jordan Valley settlements file in the Palestinian Authority, said that forces notified ‘Enoun’ nature reserve, which occupies an area of 14 dunums, of their intentions to uproot the forest trees, which were recently planted by the ministry of agriculture.
Meanwhile, Israeli army ordered 14 families living in ar-Ras al-Ahmar, a small village in northern Jordan Valley, to leave their homes for six hours on September 1 in order to conduct military trainings in the area, according to a local source.
Aref Daraghmeh, head of al-Maleh local council, said an Israeli army force broke into the village in the morning and handed notices to 14 families ordering them to leave their homes from 6:00 AM until 12:00 PM on September 1, to conduct military drills in the area.
According to B’Tselem, a human rights center, “Since 5 Aug. 2015, the Civil Administration has demolished 34 residential buildings and 31 other structures in Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, in the vicinity of Ma’ale Adumim, and in the southern Hebron hills. A total of 167 people have lost their homes in these actions, including 101 minors.”
A move that was widely condemned, including by the US, UN, and around 31 aid groups, including Oxfam and Amnesty International.
Oxfam’s Catherine Essoyan said: ‘Demolitions are pushing Palestinians to the brink and destroying prospects for peace.
“These demolitions take part in the context of efforts by the military and the Civil Administration to push Palestinian communities out of Area C,” said the center, adding that, “These expulsion plans run counter to the provisions of international humanitarian law, which prohibit the forcible transfer of protected persons, unless carried out for their own protection or for an imperative military need.”
The center stressed that, ‘Even when the transfer meets these criteria, it must be temporary.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, John Kirby on august 21 said, “We are very troubled by the recent escalation of demolitions and evictions, which include the destruction of dozens of structures and the displacement of over 150 people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this month alone.”
He described these demolitions and evictions as ‘harmful and provocative and indicative of a damaging trend, particularly given settlement-related activity and continued construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.’
In the meantime, the Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), Robert Piper, and the Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, expressed grave concern about demolitions that were carried out [Monday] by the Israeli Civil Administration in vulnerable Palestinian Bedouin refugee communities in Area C, near East Jerusalem, reported the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Both officials called for an immediate freeze on demolitions in the West Bank.
Israel is planning to annex the Jordan Valley into a completely Israeli area, primarily in agriculture, targeting to ban territorial contiguity between a future Palestinian state and the rest of the Arab world.
The Israeli army conducts regular drills in the occupied West Bank, especially in the Jordan Valley, and in most cases these drills are accompanied by a forced displacement of dozens of local Palestinian families.
In May 2014, a senior Israeli army officer admitted that military training in live-fire zones in the West Bank “is used as a way of reducing the number of Palestinians living nearby, and serves as an important part of the campaign against Palestinian illegal construction.”
Col. Einav Shalev also described the Israeli army policy of confiscating humanitarian equipment destined for Palestinians whose homes have been destroyed as ‘a punch in the right places’.
According to a United Nations’ OCHA report, “Israeli settlers destroyed over 5,500 Palestinian-owned olive trees and saplings in the period between December 30 2014, and January 12, 2015.”