Fire started by Israeli military in Jordan Valley 12th June 15For many years Israeli military training has been conducted in and around Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, and the sight of training camps in the hills of the northern Jordan Valley, where many Palestinians live and graze their sheep, was becoming a normal experience.

The occupation has long justified this by placing concrete blocks on the roadside near all Palestinian communities, claiming the land as closed military zones.

However, 2015 has seen a further escalation of this harassment of local farmers and their families.

In early May there was extensive training, with temporary camps set up all over the northern Jordan Valley, exercises conducted right next to Palestinian homes, and constant movement of military vehicles on all the roads in the area. Many villages were forced to evacuate to make way for the training, and many lost their lambs and had their land set on fire to as a result.

Military training north of Fasayil 11 June 15Another period of training by the occupation forces on 11th June families.

Jordan Valley Solidarity has received reports from three separate communities receiving orders to evacuate their homes and land:

On 12th June vast areas of land near the Jordan river we set fire to, and on 14th June the fires were still burning.

On Tuesday 16th June the occupation forces uprooted Palestibnian trees which covered an area of 300 dunums in Al Maleh. this is an area frequently used for military training and where there is a clear policy by occupation forces to drive people from their land.

The military training is yet another tactic in the occupations’ catalogue of repression of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley designed to drive Palestinians away and ethnically cleanse the area. For each family affected by the military training this is not an isolated incident, but part of a long process that they are enduring.

Muthkal Fayez Daraghme, Khirbet Yarza, 16 June 15Jordan Valley Solidarity interviewed Muthkal Fayez Daraghme in Kirbet Yarza on 16th June when he contacted us about the evacuation order that had been served on his family. He told us that the Israeli Military have stolen half of his farming land for military training and have declared it a closed military and open fire zone. He has been displaced from his original house which has been demolished and now lives 1km down the road in makeshift temporary housing where he is forced to use tents and old corrugated iron.

His daily living is made by farming the land he owns, rearing herds of cows and sheep and selling their produce to local markets. An essential part of his farm is his tractor, which the occupation forces regularly confiscate – in order to get it back he has to  pay a release fee of 4300 Shekels (aproximately £720). Each time this process takes approximately 3 months to complete and therefore his livelihood is becoming increasingly difficult to provide for his family. he was in no doubt that Israel intends to make his life so difficult that he will give up and move on.
Because he lives in Area C*  in a live fire zone, the military often train around his home, with live shooting drills and explosions very late at night and often for hours at a time. This means his family cannot sleep and are very scared.

Muthkal has been served a  notice that no one will be allowed to be on his farm or anywhere near his home at any time on the 22nd and 25th of June due to military training in the area.

*Under the Oslo Accords 60% of the West Bank was designated as Area C, giving Israel full civil and military control of the area.