HEBRON, Thursday, July 04, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Thursday demolished al-Daqiqa nature reserve to the east of Yatta in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

Mayor of al-Ka ‘abneh Village Council Odeh al-Najada told WAFA that Israeli forces escorted bulldozers into al-Daqiqa nature reserve, in the Masafer Yatta area, where the bulldozers razed parts of the fence surrounding the 150-donum reserve and proceeded to uproot trees and destroy water wells.

Odeh explained Israel’s ultimate aim is to expel residents living in eastern areas of Yatta.

The nature reserve was established 10 years ago by Palestinian villagers with international funding to protect lands from settlers’ activities, and it contains four water-harvesting wells and more than 5,000 trees.

It is inhabited by about 250 Palestinians who depend on agriculture and livestock husbandry for their livelihood and who face the threat of forced displacement under the pretext that their area is in a military training zone for Israeli forces.

Masafer Yatta is a collection of almost 19 hamlets which rely heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood.

Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living – livestock.

It has been designated as a closed Israeli military zone for training since 1980s and accordingly referred to as Firing Zone 918.

Israeli violations against the area include demolition of animal barns, homes and residential structures. Issuance of construction permits by Israel to local Palestinians in the area is non-existent.

K.T./ K.F.