Israel’s High Court of Justice has decided to allow the Civil Administration in the occupied West Bank to demolish eight Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills because the land is “needed” for military training purposes, Haaretz reported on Thursday. Around 1,500 Palestinians will be affected by the destruction of their homes.
The eight villages in question are among 12 that the Israeli defence ministry wants to be demolished as they are located within the range of Firing Zone 918. The government plans to move the residents to the town of Yatta, where, it claims, most of them have permanent homes. The Palestinians, added the ministry, will be allowed to work on their land and graze their flocks when exercises are not taking place.
Four of the 12 villages and their 300 residents will be allowed to remain. The military said that it would be obliged to reduce the dimensions of the training area and prevent the use of live fire.
The Israeli occupation government and its Civil Administration regard all of the residents of these Palestinian villages as squatters, even though the villages date from the 1830s, at least; that’s well over a century before the occupation of Palestine and the establishment of the state of Israel.