Israel court paves way for eviction of 1,000 Palestinians from West Bank

After a two-decade legal battle, Israel’s high court has ruled that about 1,000 Palestinians can be evicted from an area of the West Bank and the land repurposed for Israeli military use, in one of the single biggest expulsion decisions since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began in 1967.

About 3,000 hectares of Masafer Yatta, a rural area of the south Hebron hills under full Israeli control and home to several small Palestinian villages, was designated as a “firing zone” by the Israeli state in the 1980s, to be used for military exercises, in which the presence of civilians is prohibited.

According to the Geneva conventions pertaining to humanitarian treatment in war, it is illegal to expropriate occupied land for purposes that do not benefit the people living there, or to forcibly transfer the local population.

Israel has argued, however, that the Masafer Yatta villagers living in Firing Zone 918, farming and raising animals there, were not permanent residents of the area when the firing zone was declared, and therefore have no rights to the land.



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