Israeli occupation forces crack down on anti-annexation protest, injure scores of Palestinians

TUBAS, (ST)_ Israeli forces on Tuesday cracked down on an anti-annexation protest heading towards Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa village, southeast of Tubas, in the northern Valley of Jordan , injuring dozens.
 
A large Israeli military force violently dispersed the participants in the protest that was organized against the Israeli occupation authorities’ plan to annex the site of the demolished village and the larger Jordan Valley, according to WAFA.
 
Israeli occupation forces opened tear gas canisters and concussion grenades on protesters as the latter reached Tayaseer military checkpoint, east of Tubas city, which was closed in advance, causing dozens to suffocate due to  the inhalation of toxic gas.
 
Four protesters were injured after being directly hit with tear gas canisters in their feet and were treated at the scene. Two others were also injured after being struck with tear gas canisters in the head and the abdomen. Both cases were conveyed to the hospital.
 
Israeli troops showered journalists with tear gas canisters at the scene as a means to prevent them from covering the events.
 
Hundreds of Palestinians participated in a mass protest called for by a number of national factions in support of Khirbet Hamsa al-Fawqa, which the Israeli forces demolished three weeks ago.
 
 
Israel designated about 46 percent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone
 
The Jordan Valley, which is a fertile strip of  land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.
 
Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11.000 of its Jewish citizens to the Valley of Jordan.Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.
 
The Israel military has also designated about46 percent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since the beginning of the occupation in June 1967, and has been utilizing the pretext of military drills to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing and stifling Palestinian development in the area.
 
Approximately 6,200 Palestinians live in 38 communities in places earmarked for military use and have had to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter and live in their communities.
 
In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only temporarily displaces the communities on a regular basis but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.
 
Besides undergoing temporary displacement, the Palestinian families living there face myriad restrictions on access to resources and services. Meanwhile, Israel exploits the resources of the area and generates profit by allocating generous tracts of land and water resources for the benefit of settlers.
 
Israeli politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the highly strategic Valley of Jordan would remain under their control in any eventuality.
 
Basma Qaddour
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