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Palestinians Forced To Leave Their Homes Because Of Israeli Military Training

Thursday, 15 November 2012 13:41 5-11 November - Ref.: 250/2012
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Israeli sign stating that entry to al-Maleh is not permitted as it is a firing-zone, al-Maleh/Jordan Valley, November 2012 – Al-Haq©On 6 November, the Israeli army distributed numerous evacuation orders to Palestinian families living in different communities situated in the north of the Jordan Valley (east of Toubas). The families were ordered to leave their homes that are located in closed military zones for military training, including the use of live ammunition. The orders targeted 57 Palestinian families, including approximately 250 children, in al-Maleh, Khirbet Himsa, Khirbet al-Ras al-Ahmar and Khirbet Ibzek. The evacuations took place on 11 November. The duration of the evacuations varied between areas. In some areas, it lasted seven hours, while in others until the morning of the following day.  

In July 2012, Israeli settlers from Ro’i settlement, in the north of the Jordan Valley, took possession of Palestinian land near the settlement after the land had been requisitioned by the Israeli army for military trainings. Such trainings, which can result in the destruction of property and the forcible transfer of the occupied population, cannot be justified by military necessity. A military training is not a military operation that can meet the threshold of military necessity. Therefore, Al-Haq is gravely concerned that such orders are implemented in a way, which is designed to enable Israel’s illegal appropriation of Palestinian land and for the sole benefit of Israeli settlement expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). 

‘Ayed Salman Zawahri, (26 years old) 

On 6 November 2012, at approximately 9:30 am, a large Israeli army contingent, including five military jeeps and three white jeeps of the Israeli Civil Administration, entered the al-Maleh area (Toubas governorate), located in the Jordan Valley, 12 kilometres east of Toubas. They distributed 12 orders to evacuate closed areas in order to conduct military trainings using live ammunition from the morning of 11 November until the following day. The orders affected 170 Palestinians living in the area, including 90 children and 36 women. ‘Ayed, is a shepherd who lives in a tent in al-Maleh with his family. He received an order to evacuate his tent during the training and was threatened with being forcibly evacuated by the Israeli army. Many of the orders target more than one family. For example, ‘Eid Ahmad Fakir received an order that included his two married sons and their families, as well as his own. 

Despite having given specified dates for the evacuations, the Israeli army started setting training goals near the populated areas prior to the dates announced and deployed tanks, armoured vehicles and troop carriers. ‘Ayed was concerned about the danger this posed for him and his family. He had no idea where to go to and how to handle such difficult situation. 

On 11 November, at about 6:00 am, ‘Ayed’s family, along with another 33 families from al-Maleh, evacuated their homes and walked about half a kilometre in the rain to the nearby ‘Ein al-Hilwa area. A few hours later, other families from areas nearby al-Maleh joined them, fleeing from the live ammunition, which was being used in the training. At approximately 6:00 pm that day, ‘Ayed’s family as well as two other families decided to go back to their homes. Once they reached the area, they found several military jeeps and tanks positioned on hilltops. The Israeli army allowed them to stay the night in their homes; however, they were not allowed to leave their tents. That night, ‘Ayed heard shooting nearby. Early the following day, the shooting stopped and the rest of the Palestinian families returned to their homes.