On 27th January 2016 the Israeli army was seen having military training exercises from the middle of the Jordan Valley to Tubas. Hundreds of military personnel were moving between Palestinian communities and farms. Besides scaring the families, their activities damaged local agriculture furthering harming the economy of the region.

From 7am in the morning there were shootings, beginning at Khirbet Humsa, and passing through a lot of villages from the north of the Valley such as Ras al Ahmar and Khirbet Yarza, up to Ibziq.

The soldiers used not only standard armaments, like tank munition, but also phosphorous bombs, which are not commonly seen in practice. The decision to do it close by and between houses entails a danger to the population.

This kind of training took place in the same area two months ago in a very similar way, and the Masaeed family, which has a ranch at Yarza, has suffered from the army’s actions. “The practice destroyed hundreds of dunams before the farms could harvest”, said Mohles, 41, one of the sons, a farmer and an activist.

According to the co-ordinator of Jordan Valley Solidarity, Rashed Khudiri, Israel has broken international agreements and military law, besides not respecting humanitarian law. “They don’t protect the people who live under the occupation. After the shootings there’s no cleaning, and the soldiers leave bombs and munition leftovers, which is really dangerous. This is one of the reasons lots of Palestinians are killed in the Jordan Valley”, he claimed.

In 1991, Mohles’s younger brother, Ibrahim, who was 9 years old, was walking on the ranch with the sheep when he stepped on a bomb and died. “I still don’t understand why this happened to him”. Both mother and father of Mohles were shot on their own land, but still survived, during army trainings.

Confronted with yet another infraction made by the Israeli army, Rashed is asking the international community and the European Union to take action to stop the occupation and protect the Palestinians who live in the occupied areas, such as the Jordan Valley.

On Monday 25th January 2016 Israel’s government announced 150 new settlements in the West Bank (see this recent JVS post). When the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon criticized the move, the following day Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused him of encouraging terrorism.