Israel orders demolition of 8 Palestinian villages, claims IDF training land

Tony Gosling tony at
Fri Jul 27 01:34:14 BST 2012

Israel Issues Demolition Orders for 8 Palestinian Villages
  Monday July 23, 2012 17:21 by Kelly Joiner - IMEMC & Agencies
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday ordered the demolition 
of 8 Palestinian villages in the hills south of Hebron because the 
Israeli military needs the land for training exercises, Israeli 
newspaper Ha'aretz reported.

A total of 1,500 residents will be evicted from their homes and have 
their lands confiscated in the villages of Majaz, Tabban, Sfai, 
Fakheit, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba, and Kharuba. The villages of Tuba, 
Mufaqara, Sarura, and Megheir al-Abeid, which are also nearby, appear 
to have been spared.

Evacuation orders were first issued in 1999, but were frozen by an 
injunction from the Israeli High Court of Justice. The Israeli 
military views the land as theirs however, and the Palestinians 
living there as illegal squatters according to Ha'aretz.

All of the villages in question have existed since at least the 
1830s. However, all are located in Area C, which is under complete 
Israeli control.

This control means that Palestinians living in these villages are 
also not allowed to build on or improve their property in any way, as 
this is seen as "illegal construction" and evidence that residents 
are not longtime citizens but new migrants to the area. In practice 
this means that Palestinians do not have any way to provide for a 
naturally expanding population such as adding cisterns, restrooms or 
rooms to existing property, or constructing schools or other new buildings.

Ha'aretz also reports that the state plans to move residents to the 
town of Yatta as collaborators have informed them that they are 
actually residents there.

The Israeli military intends to use the land to train soldiers and 
must be allowed to conduct live fire exercises which it cannot do 
with residents so nearby. The article says that this is not because 
residents may be injured or killed by live fire, but because they may 
spy on the exercises or steal weapons to use for "terror purposes."

Mass forcible transfer of protected people in occupied territory by 
an occupying force is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and 
in contravention of all established international law. Exceptions are 
made only when there are hostilities in the area and transfer is 
necessary for the safety of the people in question.
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