ACRI files new petition against expulsion of 1,000 Palestinians from Area C
Update:January 16, 2013
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed a new petition this morning (January 16, 2013) at the High Court of Justice against the State’s plans to expel some 1,000 Palestinians living in eight rural villages in Firing Zone 918 in the South Hebron Hills.
In response, the High Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the forced removal of the petitioners and their families from their homes in Firing Zone 918. The injunction will remain in place until the Court rules otherwise. In addition, Justice Salim Joubran gave the State 60 days to respond to the petition.
The petition was filed by Attorney Tamar Feldman, the head of ACRI’s Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Department, on behalf of 108 villagers. It asks the defense minister and the commander of Israel Defense Forces activities in the West Bank to explain why the forced transfer of the villagers from their homes cannot be prevented, as well as for an explanation as to why the closed military zone order around the area should not be lifted and their dwellings fully recognized.
The area designated by the IDF as “Firing Zone 918” is located in the South Hebron Hills near the town of Yatta. Spread over 30,000 dunams and home to some 1,300 people, it includes twelve Palestinian villages, or hamlets: Tuba, Mufaqara, Sfai, Majaz, Tabban, Fakheit, Megheir Al-Abeid, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba, Halat a-Dab’a and Sarura. Eight of these villages, with around 1,000 residents, currently face eviction. The villagers maintain a unique way of life, with many living in or beside caves, and relying on farming and husbandry of sheep and goats for their livelihood. Most of them were born and raised in these villages to families that have been living in the area for several decades – long before 1967.