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Israel orders Yatta villagers to evacuate lands for settlement

June 4, 2014 8:10 P.M. (Updated: June 4, 2014 9:49 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces told residents of Um al-Kher village in the southern Hebron hills to evacuate parts of their property on Wednesday, in a move activists say is intended to pave the way for the expansion of a Jewish-only settlement nearby.

Rateb al-Jubur, a coordinator of the National Committee Against Settlements and the Wall, said that Israeli forces handed the Hathaleen family from the village east of Yatta notices telling them to remove gardens and barbed wire from lands they own in order for the lands to be annexed to the settlement of Karmel.

Al-Jubur said that the same family had been handed notices a few days earlier telling them to remove the barbed wire that surrounds 150 dunams (37 acres) of their land in the village, which is located in Area C and thus falls under full Israeli military control.

Al-Jubur also said that the Israeli forces on Wednesday seized a tractor that belongs to resident Omar Hasan Hoshieh from Yatta, and three cars that belong to Bedouins who live east of Yatta.

Al Jubur called upon all international and human-rights institutions to intervene and limit these acts that aim to force out the owners of these lands from them.

Um al-Kher is frequently targeted by settlers living in Karmel, and Israeli authorities have pressured villagers to leave areas near the settlement in order to facilitate its expansion.

The South Hebron Hills, known locally as Masafer Yatta, lie almost entirely in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and military control since the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region, according to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem.

The safety of these settlers is often given as an excuse for forced displacement of Palestinians who live in villages in the area.
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