Israeli bulldozers earmark land in the Jordan Valley
Israeli colonists have taken over a huge Palestinian owned piece of land in the Al Maleh area of the Jordan Valley region.
On Monday, Israeli bulldozers belonging to the nearby colony of Roi started earmarking the land.
According to Aref Daraghmah, the Chief of the Council of Al Maleh and the Bedouin areas in the Jordan Valley region, the Israeli colonists have taken over 100 Dunums of land on which the occupation forces had conducted periodic military training.
“The Palestinian owners of the land had known that it had been used by the occupation forces for military training, but the owners were shocked to find civilian bulldozers from the nearby colony marking the land as though it belonged to the colony,” he told Gulf News.
The land is four kilometres away from Roi and the colonists intended to build new facilities.
Daraghmah said that the colonists of Roi used a similar strategy to seize another piece of land three years ago. He said that land had first been used by the occupation forces for training, after which the colonists seized it and used it to grow grapes.
In that instance, the colonists also insisted that the land was theirs.
A senior official from Jericho and Jordan Valley Region told Gulf News that the Jordan Valley region had been used by the occupation forces for training and that hundreds of original residents were evacuated from their houses and lands when those regular training periods occurred.
Several casualties among civilian Palestinians have been reported during military training in the region.
The official condemned the Israeli military training conducted in Jericho and the Jordan Valley region, labelling those exercises a major source of disturbance and danger for Palestinian residents.
Security control over the Jordan Valley areas has been a key point of disagreement between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel during the ongoing peace negotiations.
Israel insists on having a military presence to secure Israeli borders with Jordan and the PNA insists that not a single Israeli soldier should be in the entire region.
Rather, the PNA would prefer Nato forces are present in the region to deal with security issues.
The official said that Israel has been implementing a strategy in the Jordan Valley areas as land seizures and deportation of evicted Palestinian families have reached unprecedented levels.