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More than 70 families displaced, fields scorched, by Israeli military drills

12:00 Apr 30 2013 Northern Jordan Valley

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via email from UN's Displacement Working Group for the Occupied Palestinian Territories (DWG-oPT)

More than 70 families from at least 6 Palestinian communities in the northern Jordan Valley were forcibly displaced for periods ranging from 12-24 hours yesterday and today due to plans by the Israeli military to conduct training in and around their communities.

The displaced communities include Hamamat Al Maleh, Hamamat Al Maleh - Al Meita, Hamamat Al Maleh - Al Burj, Khirbet Samra, Ein Al Hilweh - Wadi Al Faw, and part of Ein Al Hilweh - Um Al Jmal.

Some of the families moved temporarily to areas west of Tayasir checkpoint, while others have sought refuge in areas near the Allon Road between Ein Al Hilwe and Al Farisiya. Those displaced include a number of small children, some only a few months old. In most cases, the families packed matrixes and blankets, and many rounded up their livestock, but they generally lack adequate shelter and other basic necessities.

Initial reports indicate that several hundred dunum of land, planted with wheat, as well as animal fodder, may have been burnt and destroyed as a result of the training, causes huge losses to the owners.

Several hundred Palestinians have been temporarily displaced in recent months due to repeated military training exercises in the area. A number of media outlets tried to visit the area today and the story was included in Israeli media this morning. We have included some relevant links below, for ease of reference.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-evicts-bedouin-residents-of-west-bank-village-ahead-of-idf-exercise-1.518271
http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/W-Bank-Beduin-villagers-evicted-for-IDF-exercise-311491
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4373968,00.html

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TUBAS (Ma'an) -- Israeli army exercises scorched fields in the Wadi al-Maleh area of the northern Jordan Valley, the local village council said.

The local council of the Bedouin community that was evicted from their lands and tents said the Israeli military was still performing training exercises by Monday evening.

The exercises include jet fighters, tanks, and other military vehicles.

The council added that people were prevented from reaching and extinguishing fires.

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by IMEMC & Agencies

The Al-Maleh and the Bedouin Tribes Village Council in the Jordan Valley reported that Israeli soldiers started, on Monday evening, the eviction of dozens of Bedouin families in the area in preparation to conduct military training.

The council said that the army distributed, two days ago, dozens of written military orders in Hammamat al-Maleh, Al-Meeta, Al-Borj, Um Aj-Jmal, Wadi Al-Fau, Khirbit Samra and Ar-Ras Al-Ahmar demanding the Bedouins to leave, and threatened to remove them by force and to confiscate their tents, property and livestock.

The council added that the residents left their areas in order to avoid forced removal and arrest, and were left in the cold.

It also said that dozens of children in these tribes already suffer malnutrition and several health issues due to Israeli restrictions that prevent the entry of relief workers and medications into the area under the pretext of being a “closed military zone”.

Aref Daraghma, head of the Wadi Al-Maleh Village Council, stated that Israel is conducting a deliberate policy that aims at the removal of the residents, and that the continued displacement of Bedouin families and tribes is directly affecting the residents, especially the children.

He added that the residents have no other option but to leave as Israeli tanks and heavy equipment just roll into the area so that the army can conduct its military drills.

Daraghma further stated that the army choses to conduct training in Bedouin areas as it wants to stay away from Israeli settlements in the Jordan valley, and added that even when the army concludes its training, it leaves behind spent explosives and shells an issue that poses direct threat on the life and safety of the children and the residents.

In January, the Israeli army started drills using live ammunition in several Palestinian villages in the southern West bank city of Hebron.

The training was held despite a preliminary High Court ruling preventing the army from conducting training near Palestinian civilian areas.

Residents of Janba, Tabban and Al-Markaz, south of Hebron, filed an appeal to the Israeli court demanding it to issue a ruling against the drills, and asking the court to charge the army with contempt of court for violating its previous ruling.

Israel justifies its actions by issuing military orders declaring certain areas as “Fire Zones”, using the fact that its laws in the occupied West Bank do not recognize dozens of Bedouin villages and tribes.


Those who live in the area suffered huge losses, council head Aarif Daraghma said. He accused Israel of trying to drive people from the land, and end their presence in the area.

Daraghma added that national and international human rights associations should support the community after the destruction caused by the Israeli army.

The Israeli army said the exercises were due to "regional changes."

At 10 a.m. on Monday, an army statement said, Israeli forces "commenced a military exercise in northern Israel. This exercise ended today" at 5 p.m., the army said.

It added: "Due to regional changes, the IDF constantly reassess force deployment and training schedules. The IDF regularly trains soldiers and commanders in order to provide the capabilities to protect the state of Israel and its residents. This exercise was planned in advance as part of the IDF's 2013 training schedule."


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