World Bulletin / News Desk
An Israeli plan to displace 12 shepherd communities in the occupied West Bank to make way for army training zones was condemned by the Palestinian Authority premier on Wednesday as a move to depopulate Palestinian areas.
Israel has designated the area south of the city of Hebron as a closed military zone and asked for Supreme Court approval to move the residents to the nearby village of Yatta.
But villagers say Israel wants to eject them from the area in order to clear a path for the expansion of nearby Jewish settlements. No date has been set yet for a ruling by the high court, according to rights activists.
"This measure is aimed at evacuating the Palestinians from their land," PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said while visiting a partially demolished mosque in one of the communities. "There is no other explanation."
Fayyad visited the community of Al-Mufaqara, one of 12 where some 1,500 people live on 3,035 hectares of land.
"We are one kilometer away from one settlement, and 700 metres from a (settler) outpost - why aren't they being evacuated?" said resident Mahmoud Hamamdeh, dressed in flowing traditional dress and headgarb.
"We got our first demolition order right after the settlements were built in 1985," he says.
The United Nations' International Court of Justice and most governments rule Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank illegal.
"Not Israeli land"
The hamlets of Al-Mufaqara, Tuba, Majaz, Tabban, Sfaye, Fakhit, Halawa, Al Marqaz, Jinba, Kharuba, Megheir al-Abeid and Sarura have been under threat of demolition since 1999, according to the Association for Human Rights in Israel.
An evacuation was halted in 2000 by a court decision after 700 people had already been evicted.
Fayyad, seated in a rough tent surrounded by village residents, said that Israeli settlement expansion and forced evictions of Palestinians had undermined the viability of reaching a peaceful solution with Israel and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
"As a matter of principle, this is not Israeli land. If they want to practice military training, they should go elsewhere."
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says some 38 communities with 5,000 Palestinians, mostly Bedouin and pastoral communities in the West Bank, reside in areas designated as "firing zones" - which comprise approximately 18 percent of the West Bank.
Palestinian residents of firing zones are routinely subject to demolition orders. Almost half of all demolitions since 2010 have occurred in these areas, displacing over 820 Palestinians so far, according to OCHA.
In May, EU foreign ministers criticized what they said were worsening conditions for Palestinians living in Area C -- the 60 percent of the West Bank which is under full Israeli occupation and where most Jewish settlements are located.
An EU mission also visited Al-Mufaqara on Wednesday and issued a statement later protesting at what it called a planned "forced transfer of ... people contrary to Israel's obligations as the Occupying Power".
It added: "The designation of the area as a live firing zone would thus reduce further the opportunities for Palestinian communities to live and work in Area C and ... any potential of economic and social development for the Palestinians in this area of the occupied Palestinian territory".
Yemeni army forces have taken control of a strategic military base in Saudi Arabia, as Riyadh continues its military aggression against Yemen.
ISIL has claimed responsibility in a mosque attack in Yemen, 13 people were wounded.
A bomb has exploded at a mosque in Saudi Arabia, with reports of injured.
Jordan has said said that the problems of the Middle East can be solved by using the strengths of the countries in the region.
The Houthi forces have placed a condition that they will join the Geneva meeting later this month on the condition that there is ceasefire by the Saudi's.
ISIL has seized the last border crossing between Syria and Iraq, taking over more than 50% of Syria.
Saudi shells hit Yemen international aid office, killing 5 Ethiopian refugees.
On Sunday, ISIL took control of Ramadi after overrunning Iraqi forces in the area and are now in full control after local police and Iraqi army forces withdrew from the city.
Palmyra is a strategic military gain, home to modern army installations and situated on a desert highway linking the capital Damascus with Syria's eastern provinces.
The ancient city of Palymyra has fallen to ISIL with Assad forces trapped in DerzZor
President El-Sisi has met with US Central Command head General Austin in Cairo
The UK had condemned the regime's use of barrel bombs after mobile phone video footage emerged showing barrel bombs being dropped from a helicopter.
Head of European Union delegation to Iraq said a new representative office will be opened in Iraq with the aim of improving relations with Kurdish region
Syrian has evacuated citizens from the ancient city of Palmyra on Wednesday after ISIL infiltrated the ancient city.
ISIL members seized around a third of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday.