Military training in Area B - Jordan Valley. The close proximity to a children's play area can be seen in the photo.

The Israeli army have started large scale training with tanks and live ammunition in the northern Jordan Valley. Showing complete disregard for Palestinians in the area, they warned four Bedouin families to leave their homes for 24 hours, yet they didn’t go anywhere near the illegal settlements or the land they farm.

Military training in areas of the Jordan Valley completely controlled by Israel (designated as Area C under the Oslo accords) is common place, around Al Hadidiya, Al Farisiya, Al Maleh, Ein Al Hilwe Humsa and Makhoul. However, with this current wave of training they have moved into Area B (where the Palestinian Authority has joint control under the Oslo accords). On this occasion they were carrying out their training in the centre of Ein Shibli village, next to a park where local people take thier children to play and swim. This busy village is one of the few places where Bedouin communities from Al Hadidiya, Makhoul, Ras ar Ahmar and Humsa can come to fill up their portable water tanks, that they then use for themselves and their livestock to drink.

It seems that this is a clear message to the world that Israel intends to take absolute control over the valley, and are happy to violate Palestinian human rights if they wish. They have already designated 37% of the Jordan Valley as military training areas, but by their recent actions, are extending that sphere of control to the whole valley.

Since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 they have killed 52 Palestinians in the Jordan Valley during military training exercises, and have injured more than 200. Just over a month ago, on 26th April 2012, a 17 year old boy was shot during military training int he Al Maleh area. 9 months ago Alaa Eqab Daragme lost his right hand when an explosive went off.

Update on continued training on 6th June and evacuation of al least 30 families from their homes.