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Israeli forces seize Palestinian-owned vehicles in Tubas

06:00 Sep 24 2017 Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar

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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces seized vehicles and tractors Sunday morning in Ras al-Ahmar, south of Tubas in the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority's Wafa news agency reported that Israeli soldiers seized three cars and two tractors that belong to residents of Ras al-Ahmar, according to Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the area.

Daraghmeh told Wafa that Israeli forces "have been seizing residents’ agricultural properties and vehicles for more than ten days."

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for COGAT, the office in charge of Israel's Civil Administration unit in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma'an: "This morning three vehicles and a tractor that entered a military firing zone against the law and without coordination were caught. The entree to military firing zones is dangerous and a blunt violation of the law in the area."

Rights groups have said that Israeli military training zones, known as a "firing zones," are used as a pretext to fully annex portions of the occupied West Bank.

Nearly 20 percent of the occupied West Bank has been declared "firing zones" since the 1970s, but according to the UN, some 80 percent of these areas are not in fact used for military training. However, when military training does take place, Israel forces families to leave their homes for hours or days at a time until the drill is over.

The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C -- under full Israeli military control.

Demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure and residences occur frequently in Area C, with the Jordan Valley’s Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to such policies.

Israeli forces confiscated cattle and water tanks, as well as agricultural machinery from Bedouin Palestinians in the so-called firing zone earlier this month.
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