RAMALLAH — Israeli occupation forces Saturday closed the northern Jordan Valley and declared the area a closed military zone.
Aref Daraghmeh, the head of Wadi Al-Malih village council and in-charge of Palestinian Bedouin affairs in the Jordan Valley, said that the Israeli forces barred Palestinians from entering or leaving the Palestinian communities in the area.
Daraghmeh added that Israeli forces closed the roads that connect the northern Jordan Valley with the cities of Nablus and Jenin. He added that the forces also closed the Tayasir checkpoint that connects the area with the town of Toubas.
The Israeli Civil Administration distributed eviction orders to some 250 Palestinian families in the area under the pretext that their homes are located in or near areas designated as “firing zones.”
According to Daraghmeh, around 18 percent of West Bank land is a closed military area for the purposes of military training, often termed “firing zones.”
He added that the majority of these zones are located in the Jordan Valley and along the eastern slopes of the Bethlehem and Hebron Governorates. More than 5,000 Palestinians reside in such areas in around 38 communities, many of which were existing before the areas were designated as closed military zones.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces closed the Palestinian village of Beit Iksa, to the northwest of Jerusalem, and barred Palestinians and their foreign supporters from entering the village.
Nabil Hababeh, the coordinator of the Beit Iksa Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, said that the soldiers manned the only checkpoint leading to the village “as a punishment against the residents and their foreign supporters for re-erecting the Al-Karamah (Dignity)” tent village.
On Friday, dozens of Palestinian activists re-erected tents at an Al-Karamah camp which was erected two weeks ago in the area between Beit Iksa and Lifta to protest Israeli settlement construction plans in the area. The Israeli forces dismantled the outpost and forcibly removed activists from the encampment Monday.
Meanwhile, around 200 Palestinians demonstrating in solidarity with prisoners held by Israel hurled stones at troops in the West Bank Saturday and soldiers responded with tear gas, Palestinian security officials and the Israeli military said.
Palestinians said the confrontation erupted when protesters tried to set up tents adjacent to Israel’s West Bank security fence at Anin village, near the northern town of Jenin.
They said eight Palestinians suffered from gas inhalation but nobody was badly hurt. About 10 people were detained by troops but later released, the security officials added.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers used “riot dispersal means” to break up the protest and that nobody was injured on either side.