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Israel prepares for 'hundreds of Palestinian home demolitions' in the Jordan Valley Open in fullscreen

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Israel prepares for 'hundreds of Palestinian home demolitions' in the Jordan Valley

The Jordan Valley forms around a third of the occupied West Bank [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 November, 2017

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Israeli forces are preparing to demolish hundreds of Palestinian homes in the northern occupied West Bank after issuing eviction orders for rural communities in the Jordan Valley last week .

Israeli forces are preparing to demolish hundreds of Palestinian homes in the northern occupied West Bank after issuing eviction orders for rural communities in the Jordan Valley last week.

Israeli forces delivered demolition and evacuation notices to more than 30 Palestinian families in the Ein al-Hilweh and Umm al-Jamal villages in the northern Jordan Valley on Friday.

The orders, dated November 1, will affect around 300 Palestinians and demanded that residents remove all of their property from the area within eight days while barring anyone from entering the area for the purposes of construction.

All of the land in question is owned privately by Palestinians or the Catholic Church.

"This is a mass expulsion order against the Palestinian population that violates international law", Tawfique Jabareen, a lawyer representing the residents, told Haaretz.

COGAT, an Israeli defence body that administers the occupied Palestinian territories, said that the orders were sent to enforce efforts against "illegal construction at the site".

East of the area slated for demolition is the illegal settlement of Maskiot, while over the past two years, two settler outposts have been constructed north and south of Ein al-Hilweh.

Residents fear that the eviction and demolition orders for the largely rural herding community will allow the expansion of illegal settlements in the area.

On Thursday, Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant told Israeli public radio that the government plans to double the amount of Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley, an area which forms around a third of the occupied West Bank.

He said there is a consensus in the Israeli government that the Jordan Valley would remain part of Israel as part of any future political settlement to the conflict.

The majority of the Jordan Valley is located in Area C, under full Israeli security and administrative control, with construction and planning for Palestinians restricted.

The area is comprised of rich agricultural land, including access to the Dead Sea, which would form an integral part of any future Palestinian state.

Israel has repeatedly ruled out removing settlers and military forces from the occupied area as part of any future peace deal.

Over 600,000 Israeli Jews now live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, making a contiguous Palestinian state virtually impossible.

Settlement building in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem is considered illegal under international law.

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