Israel has announced a four days military training with live ammunition in the northern Jordan Valley around the homes and farms of Palestinian communities home to 47 families in the northern Jordan Valley. As military convoys bring in shooting targets, rocket launchers and heavy machinery, the people on the ground ask for urgent protection. Continue reading for action information….
On Thursday, dozens of soldiers invaded several areas of the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley and ordered the Bedouin living in the area to leave the region starting from Monday 4th of May to Thursday 7th of May, as the army intends to conduct training. The communities targeted are located in a large area around the Hamra checkpoint and include Humsa Fouqa, Khirbet Ibziq, al Borj, al Meeta and al Maleh areas and Ras ar Ahmar.
This military training comes after home demolitions in Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley on April 27 and another military 'exercise' in the area on April 28. During this military attack in the farmland of Humsa Fouqa, some 3,000 to 4,000 dunams of crops and trees have been burned after the shootings and ammunitions of the Israeli army started the fire. Palestinian firefighter crews that came from nearby districts were prevented from reaching the area, as Israel has declared it a closed military zone.
People in the area witness large scale military preparations in the area and are worried for their lives and livelihoods. Previous military invasions of this sort would only last one day and they had never been ordered to leave their homes for four days in a row. This military invasion to their land threatened not only their crops, which got just ready for harvesting, but as well their livestock. The lambing season has just started and this displacement puts the newborn lambs at risk as well as the mother sheep and their pregnancies. People are as well fearing for their properties, their homes, animal sheds, water storage and other constructions and belongings.
Therefore, the communities decided to collectively disobey the military orders to leave the area and to resist on their land to protect their land, homes and livestock. The Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign has already given out a call to action and sent a letter to the United Nations. We are working together to denounce this further step of Israel's systematic plan of forced population transfer and ask you to keep updated through our sites, facebook and twitter to spread the news and action tools we are creating.
Military trainings in the Jordan Valley increased dramatically since 2012 and are part and parcel of Israel's effort to ethnically cleanse the Area C from its Palestinian inhabitants, to forcibly transfer the communities in the so-called 'relocation zones' currently under construction in the area of al Aizariya and in planning around the Jordan Valley. In May 2014, Col. Einav Shalev, operations officer of the Central Command told the subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "the goal of preventing illegal construction is one of the main reasons the Israel Defense Forces has recently increased its training in the Jordan Valley".
According to UN OCHA, approximately 18% of the West Bank has been designated as a closed military zone for training, or “firing zone”. This is roughly the same amount of the West Bank under full Palestinian authority (Area A, 17.7%). Some 5,000 Palestinians reside in the firing zones. They live in 38 communities and are mostly Bedouin tribes that have been expelled to this area during the ethnic cleansing of the Naqab (Negev) from 1948-52.