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In photos - Israeli settlers build houses in Jordan Valley

Sept. 11, 2018 3:08 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 12, 2018 4:11 P.M.)
TUBAS (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers started building and setting up housing structures in a settlement outpost in Khirbet al-Sweida village in Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley of the West Bank.

Activist Aaref Daraghmeh said that Israel confiscated thousands of dunums of lands from its original Palestinian owners for Israeli settlement expansion in the area.

Daraghmeh said that Israeli settlers set up mobile homes "caravans" five kilometers away from the "al-Sweida" settlement outpost near the village.

He pointed out that settlers raised the Israeli flag on the structures.

The settlement outpost was set up in May, 2018 south of the Shadmot Mehola Israeli settlement, the only area where Palestinian shepherds could herd their sheep.

The closure of the area would close off thousands of dunums of lands where Palestinian farmers could shepherd their sheep; the new settlement outpost would close obstruct the daily lives of dozens of families and land owners in the area.

Forming a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C -- under full Israeli military control, the Jordan Valley has long been seen by Israel as a strategic area to maintain under its authority.

International rights organisations consider the continuation of the Israeli campaign which targets Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, whether though confiscations, demolitions or evictions under the pretext of holding military exercises, as a violation of international humanitarian law.

Tubas is one of the 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 re-appropriated by Israeli forces for military purposes and training exercises.

According to the Palestinian nonprofit the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), more than 400,000 dunums (98,842 acres) of the 720,000 dunums (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 dunums (6,672 acres) confiscated for illegal Israeli settlement building.

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