Israel has handed evacuation orders to 100 Palestinian families in the northern Jordan Valley so that its troops can carry out military exercises. The families were ordered to leave their homes by Monday morning.
Palestinian officials and activists said that the area has been changed to a "military zone" by the Israeli occupation authorities. As such, the families will be living in a virtual prison, banned from moving around their own land until the manoeuvres end on Tuesday evening.
The head of Wadi al-Maleh village in the area, Aref Daraghmeh, said in a statement that the families being evacuated will have to stay out in the open for a few days. "A lot of military hardware has been brought into the district," he said. "They have put us in a closed area and we are not allowed to move." He pointed out that 120 children are not being allowed to go to school, adding that the villagers fear for their own safety and that of their livestock, farms and homes during the live-fire drills.
Hundreds of nomadic Palestinians live in a series of villages in the occupied Jordan Valley. They have been targeted by the Israeli occupation authorities on many occasions. In the past two years this has taken the form of evacuation orders. Their tents, very basic homes and byres, as well as their farms and greenhouses, have been destroyed several times. A number of Palestinian and international NGOs try to help the families after each Israeli incursion of their land.