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Rights group: Israel cancels Jordan Valley evacuation

Oct. 14, 2013 6:04 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 17, 2013 10:48 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces have canceled a planned evacuation of 75 people from their homes in the Jordan Valley, an Israeli rights group said Monday.

Representatives of the Civil Administration visited the Palestinian communities of al-Burj and al-Mita to inform residents that they will not be required to leave their homes on Tuesday, the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday, B'Tselem said.

Earlier, an Israeli military officer visited the communities to inform them that 75 residents, including 35 children, would have to leave their homes on Tuesday between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. while Israeli forces conduct a military training exercise.

Evicting Palestinian residents from their homes for military exercises is unlawful, B'Tselem said, adding that any evictions within occupied territory are only allowed when necessary for the welfare of the population or urgent military necessity.

In the summer of 2012, Israel's military temporarily evicted Palestinian communities from areas defined as firing zones in the Jordan Valley.

The evictions lasted from several hours to two days, with residents moved by force if they refused to do so voluntarily and forced to pay for the removal.

During the evictions, families were forced to leave their homes and possessions, only taking blankets, mattresses, food and water, B'Tselem said.

Some of the evictions took place in winter during harsh weather conditions.
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