Daily Archives: June 19, 2016

Israeli Army Conducts Military Drills East of Tubas

Israeli army Sunday conducted military drills across different parts of the northern Jordan Valley area to the east of Tubas, according to an official.

Aref Daraghmeh, an expert on settlements and Israeli violations, informed WAFA that Israeli army forces Palestinians living in the eastern part of Tubas out of their homes almost on a daily basis, under the pretext of conducting  military drills in the area.

To be noted, the army usually conducts drills in the occupied West Bank, especially in the Jordan Valley; Palestinian families often receive notices ordering them to leave their homes for various periods until the drills are over.

“It is extremely difficult for whole families, including children, to be evacuated on such short notice. With no properly arranged place to stay, they must find a way to ensure shelter, food and drink away from home in the intense, grueling heat of the Jordan Valley,” said B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights center.

According to B’Tselem, “The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea make up approximately 30% of the West Bank and are the most significant Palestinian land reserves.”

Since 1967, Israel has pursued various measures to annex this territory de facto. It has prevented the development of Palestinian communities, systematically destroyed homes in Palestinian Bedouin communities, denied access to water and strictly ed Palestinians’ freedom of movement, noted the center.

B’Tselem said, “The frequent evacuations force residents to put their lives on hold. The evoke fear and uncertainty and involve a great deal of inconvenience.”

“In each such evacuation, the families must abandon their homes and some of their property. They must take along mattresses, blankets, and food and water for themselves and their livestock. They have to leave with their children and flocks and find shelter from the weather elsewhere.”

It noted that, some of the evacuations took place in the winter, in severe weather. In some cases the military training sessions damaged residents’ cultivated fields.

B’Tselem called on Israel to stop such actions, stating that, “Israel must immediately stop the temporary evacuation of Palestinian communities in the West Bank for the purpose of military training, and must cease all other actions taken in an attempt to force Palestinians out of the area.”

Palestinians living in these areas have to also worry about unexploded ordnance left behind by the Israeli army after the drills, which have led to the death of many Palestinians, including children, over the past years.

In 2014, three Palestinians were killed by unexploded ordnance left by Israeli forces in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley, while Gaza remains plagued with unexploded ordnance following the most recent Israeli aggression.

OCHA Protection of Civilian report, reporting period: 30 September – 13 October 2014, said that, “On 22 October 2014, a four-year-old child was killed when a [unexploded ordnance] UXO exploded east of Beit Hanoun, Gaza.

“The presence of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) continues to pose a high risk to civilians, particularly children. Following the July-August hostilities, the risk of UXO and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) became significantly high.”

Source: Wafa

Israeli Army Targets Palestinian Agricultural Land Along Gaza Borders

Israeli army Sunday resumed its attacks against Palestinian farmers along Gaza borderline, according to WAFA correspondent.

Israeli soldiers stationed at watchtowers along the borderline area to the east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, opened heavy machine gunfire on farmers, preventing them from reaching their land. No injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, the borderline area to the east of the strip witnessed an unusual and intensified military presence since the early morning hours, in an apparent prelude to infiltrate the borders.

Since 2005, Israel unilaterally imposed a 300-meter-wide buffer zone into the border with Gaza, sharply affecting the livelihood of tens of thousands of Gaza farmers, who rely heavily on agriculture to provide for their families.

Israeli troops typically enforce the buffer zone with live fire, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), which often results in, inter alia, the direct targeting of civilians and/or indiscriminate attacks, both of which constitute war crimes.

PCHR reports that Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians take place anywhere up to approximately 1.5 kilometers inside the border fence, which constitutes approximately 17 percent of the total territory of the Gaza Strip. Approximately 27,000 dunums, 35% of the Gaza Strip’s agricultural land, can only be accessed under high personal risk, as Israeli attacks may result in injury or death of civilians.

As of 2010, UN-OCHA estimated that 35 percent of Gaza’s agricultural land is located in restricted-access areas, affecting the lives and livelihoods of approximately 113,000 people.

Farmers in farmlands on the borders say their situation has only worsened since the last war ended in 2014, pointing to the Israeli military’s frequent incursions into their lands and its practice of firing live ammunition at farmers who enter the sizable ‘buffer zone’ between Gaza and Israel.

According to OCHA protection of civilians weekly report covering the period between April26th and May 2nd, “On at least 21 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in Gaza, and arrested two fishermen after forcing them to strip and swim towards Israeli naval boats, where they were taken into custody. On four occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out land-levelling and excavation operations.”

Regarding the latest developments outside of the reporting period, OCHA said that, “Tensions along the Gaza-Israel border have been on the rise since 4 May, involving  a series of attacks by Palestinian armed groups and the Israeli army; a Palestinian woman was killed and four other Palestinian civilians, including three children, and an Israeli soldier, were injured, according to initial media reports.”

Source: Wafa