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Israel Forces to uproot 100 trees belonging to Palestinian farmer in Masafer Yatta

January 26, 2023 at 4:26 pm

Israeli forces raze four water wells in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, in the southern occupied West Bank [Ihab Alami/ApaImages]

Israeli Occupation Authorities today issued notices to Palestinian landowners alerting them of their plans to destroy 100 trees based in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron in the Occupied West Bank, reported Wafa news agency.

Local Palestinian anti-Occupation activist, Rateb Jabour, said that Israeli Forces raided the village of Khallet Ad-Dabi and notified a Palestinian farmer that his 100 fruit tree saplings planted at the site of the local school, demolished two years ago, would be uprooted.

According to Wafa, the orders come after Israeli Occupation Authorities also demolished three water wells belonging to a local Palestinian resident.

These demolition orders come amid fears that the new far-right Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which includes racist figures known for their animosity towards Palestinians, could push for more demolitions of Palestinian homes in the Occupied West Bank, especially in Masafer Yatta.

On 4 May 2022, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that there were no legal barriers to the planned expulsion of Palestinian residents from Masafer Yatta to make way for military training.

READ: Israel orders Palestinian farmer to destroy his olive trees

The UN OCHA said, then, that this ruling “effectively placed the residents at imminent risk of forced evictions, arbitrary displacement and forcible transfer”.

According to the UN OCHA, in the 1980s, the Israeli Occupation designated part of Masafer Yatta as ‘Firing Zone 918’ and declared it a closed military zone.

Since this declaration, indigenous Palestinian residents have been at risk of forced eviction, demolition and forcible transfer. The two villages of Khirbet Sarura and Kharoubeh no longer exist after their homes were demolished.

“Approximately 20 per cent of the West Bank has been designated as ‘Firing Zones’, affecting over 5,000 Palestinians from 38 communities,” the UN OCHA said.

It added: “Currently, Masafer Yatta is home to 215 Palestinian households, including about 1,150 people, of which 569 are children.”

In an effort to force Palestinians out of the area, the Israeli Occupation has deprived residents of access to basic amenities, including drainage and permission to construct to meet the needs of the growing population.

READ: West Bank: illegal Israeli settlers destroy dozens of olive trees