Israeli Forces to Forcibly Displace 50 Families in Jordan Valley for Military Drills

JORDAN VALLEY, April 30, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Thursday notified about 50 Palestinian families of its intention to forcibly displace them in order to make room for Israeli military drills across the Jordan Valley, said a municipal source.

Head of al-Maleh Village Council ‘Aref Daraghmeh told WAFA that Israeli forces has ordered about 50 families to leave their localities in order to make room for Israeli military drills.

The families comprise of 27 families living in al-Burj and Hamamat al-Maleh areas, 10 others in Ibziq, to the north of Tubas, and 10 more others in Humsa, a locality of al-Bika‘ia or Tammun in the northeastern part of the West Bank.

Left with no place to go, the families will be living in open areas until they will be allowed to return to their homes, Daraghmeh added.

According to data obtained from the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), al-Bika‘ia occupied a total area of about 30,000 dunums distributed over three localities, including Humsa, which occupied 400 dunums. The localities have a high agricultural potential with plentiful supply of grazing land and water availability.

The overwhelming majority of the population depends on agriculture for living, mainly farming and livestock. However, it has become increasingly difficult for them to access their grazing lands and market their products because of Israeli restrictions.

According to ARIJ, since 1967 the Israeli occupation seized 14,000 dunums, 10,000 of those were confiscated since the break of the second Intifada for the purposes of construction of segregation wall.

Israeli forces have frequently prevented farmers’ access to their lands by placing checkpoints, barriers and declaring areas as military training zones. Large tracts of agricultural lands have been seized and isolated from the localities for the construction of the wall and building settlements.

Israeli forces have also frequently conducted military drills in the areas as a part of an international policy aimed to force locals to eventually leave their homes and relocate somewhere else.

Israel seeks to to empty the Jordan Valley, which makes around 40% of the West Bank area, from its Palestinian inhabitants with a goal to take it over and eventually annex it to Israel.