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Israel evacuates 3 families, confiscates caravan in Jordan Valley

Sept. 4, 2018 1:36 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 5, 2018 2:07 P.M.)
TUBAS (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities delivered evacuation notices to three Palestinian families from the al-Burj area in the northern Jordan Valley of the West Bank, on Tuesday.

Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian official in charge of Jordan Valley's Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), said that the Israeli authorities delivered the evacuation orders to the families, ordering them to evacuate their homes starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday until Wednesday morning.

He added that the delivered eviction notices were under the pretext to allegedly conduct military operations in the area.

Bisharat also mentioned that on late Monday, Israeli authorities had ordered the evacuation of four Palestinian families in the Jordan Valley in a nearby area for the same reason.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces confiscated a Palestinian-owned caravan, early Tuesday morning, in the Khirbet Humsa village, in the northern West Bank district of Tubas.

Bisharat said that the confiscated caravan was donated by the ACTED humanitarian NGO to support the steadfastness of Palestinian residents in the Jordan Valley.

Bisharat confirmed that the confiscated caravan belonged to Mahmoud Hayil Bisharat.

Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley regularly face evacuations and interruption due to Israeli military exercises on or near their land. The district of Tubas, meanwhile, is one of the occupied West Bank's most important agricultural centers.

The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank. Meanwhile, at least 44 percent of the total land in the Jordan Valley has been reappropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises.

According to the Palestinian nonprofit the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), more than 400,000 dunams (98,842 acres) of the 720,000 dunams (177,916 acres) that make up the total area of the Jordan Valley has been transformed into closed military and firing zones, with at least 27,000 dunams (6,672 acres) confiscated for illegal Israeli settlement building.

Forming a third of the occupied West Bank and with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C, the Jordan Valley has long been a strategic area of land unlikely to return to Palestinians following Israel's occupation in 1967.

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