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Israeli settlers set up new outpost in Jordan Valley

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli illegal settlers set up new outposts in the Jordan Valley. (Photo by Ma'an news)

In a new violation in occupied Palestine, illegal Israeli settlers set up a new outpost in the northern Jordan Valley, a prelude usually to building a new illegal settlement.

Motaz Bisharat, an official in the Tubas Governorate, said on Tuesday that a group of illegal settlers set up an animal barn and brought cows. On Monday, they set up three more shacks turning the spot into a settlement outpost.

Israeli settlers carried out attacks on the shepherds two days earlier, injuring one in the head after hitting him with sticks, Bisharat explained.

According to the Palestinian Wafa news agency, the total area of the lands in the al-Baqai’a Plain area that the outpost is expected to seize is estimated at nearly 1,800 dunums.

The Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area contain the largest land reserves in the West Bank. The area covers 1.6 million dunams of land, which constitute 28.8 percent of the West Bank. Sixty-five thousand Palestinians live in 29 communities, and an estimated additional 15,000 Palestinians reside in dozens of small Beduin communities.

The ongoing illegal settlers’ action demonstrates a clear Israeli intention, which is a de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area to the Israeli regime.

Israel, which keeps full military and civilian control over the Jordan Valley and Area C of the West Bank, seeks to uproot all Palestinians living there while it builds new illegal settlements for its settlers.

According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, Israel has used various means to take control of most of the land in the area. It has confiscated thousands of dunams from Palestinians since 1968 to build its first settlements and move further with its confiscation of lands.

By legal manipulation, Israel claimed that 53.4 percent of the area belongs to the Israeli regime, while 45.7 percent of the area as military firing zones, closed some 20 percent as natural reserves, and seized lands in the northern Jordan Valley for the Separation Barrier and has placed 64 landmine fields near the route of the Jordan River.

Using these means, Israel has taken control of 77.5 percent of the land and has prevented Palestinians from building on or using their own land or from staying or living there.

Israeli authorities usually demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain. They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality if they do not.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

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