SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Pressure on Firing Zone 918 residents continues

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CPTnet
23 June 2014
SOUTH
HEBRON HILLS:  Pressure on Firing
Zone 918 residents continues

 

On
15 May 2014, Israeli courts extended the mediation process between the Israeli
army and the villages within Firing Zone 918 for another threemonths.  The Israeli army wants to use this area
for training.  Israeli, Palestinian
and international human rights organizations have condemned its bid to expel
the villagers a violation of international law, which forbids forced transfer
of the indigenous population of an occupied territory unless the occupying
power is safeguarding them from an immediate danger.

During
the previous period of mediation, the court allowed rehabilitation of damage
done by storms, as well as access to the area by international humanitarian
organizations.  As a result, some
development was possible in the area, specifically to the schools in al-Fakheit
and Jinba.  At the same time, as
revealed in an article published on Ha’aretz, army officials admitted using
firing zones as a way to deter the growth of Palestinian communities in Area C
and to expel Palestinians from where they have lived since before the
occupation of the West Bank in 1967.

Since
8 June, the Israeli military has conducted exercises in close proximity to, and
on one occasion, inside the village of Jinba.  Some weeks before, the army drove armored vehicles over
Palestinian fields close to Jinba and Mirkez, damaging their harvest.

Residents
of Jinba told CPT that they received a “solution” to the current legal battle
from the Israeli army via their lawyers at the beginning of June.  The army asked that all of the
Palestinian residents voluntarily leave the area for thirty months so that the
Israeli military could conduct its exercises.  After that, the Palestinians could return to their homes.  The villagers refused the offer,
affirming they would not have anywhere to go with all their livestock.  Even if the army allowed them back, no
one would care for their crops and flocks for that thirty months.  

The
army is not asking Israeli settlers in the area to leave Firing Zone 918.

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