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Israeli forces confiscate agricultural machinery in Jordan Valley

Sept. 10, 2017 3:21 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 11, 2017 10:42 A.M.)
(File)
TUBAS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces confiscated Palestinian-owned agricultural machinery Sunday morning in the northern Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank east of Tubas.

The office of Tubas governor said in a statement that Israeli forces confiscated three farming machines, without specifying what they were, in the Ras al-Ahmar area of the Jordan Valley.

The statement denounced the confiscation and described it as "barbarian practice" against farmers. The statement highlighted that 22 Palestinian families live in Ras al-Ahmar.

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 that "three vehicles were found illegally in the fire zone 901. Staying in a fire zone poses a significant and illegal life risk."

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.

Earlier this year, Israeli forces destroyed a water pipeline running between the Bedouin communities of al-Hadidiya and al-Ras al-Ahmar.

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