Monday, September 21, 2020

Over 200 Jordan Valley residents displaced by new Israeli military road

By Naomi Kundera - August 05, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Jordan Valley] [demolition] [military firing zone]

In the middle of the night on Wednesday, July 25, the Israeli military came to the northern Jordan Valley village Ras al Ahmar and began constructing a military-only road.

Sixty-eight dunams of land belonging to multiple farmers, along with 1,500 meters of water pipes, were destroyed in the process.
The residents of Ras al Ahmar did not receive an official notice from Israel until Saturday, July 28, stating the land confiscation was for “emergency military purposes.”
According to an anonymous farmer and businessman from the area, some Ras al Ahmar residents are collecting themselves to appeal the notice in the Israeli court.
“But after what?” said the source. “They already destroyed the land before giving us the notice.”
The village of Ras al Ahmar is a small shepherding community that lives a bedouin-like life style with tin houses and thousands of animals freely grazing the land.
As the multiple bulldozers came in the middle of the night, around 200 people were forced to evacuate the area to protect their animals. According to Ma’an News, 38 Palestinian families are affected.
Despite an existing road adjacent to the one that is to be constructed, this new military road will be used to link soldiers with the Msheibek area for military training, according to Middle East Monitor.
Ras al Ahmar is one of 180 Palestinian villages the lie in “Area C,” meaning it is under full Israeli military control. These villages are raided constantly by Israeli soldiers, who often use the area for various military trainings and operation. People are forced to leave the land for sometimes days at a time.
Twenty percent of the West Bank is considered an official Israeli “firing zone,” but the United Nations state that close to 80 percent of these “firing zone” areas not, in fact, used for designated military trainings.
“We know here in Palestine that after the military training is over they don’t give the land back. They build settlements on it,” the Ras al Ahmar businessman told Palestine Monitor.
As construction continues in the now-closed military zone, it is unclear as of yet if the affected families in Ras al Ahmar will return to their land.
The water pipes that were destroyed are crucial for villagers livelihood in the scorching Jordan Valley summer. The 1,500 meters of pipe was used to water roughly 5,000 dunams of land. The Ras al Ahmar business man personally had 2,500 dunams that were affected.

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