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Palestinians Living in Firing Zones

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(6) Two firing zone located schools and one kindergarten are scheduled for demolition.

(7) Since 2010, about 45% of demolitions of Palestinian structures occurred in firing zones. Over 820 civilians were displaced.

(8) Ten Israeli settlement outposts are either partly or entirely in firing zones.

In the 1970s, Israel declared large West Bank areas closed military areas. Palestinians can't live there without permission. It's rarely granted. Those there face dispossession. Demarcating land is one way Israel steals it. Humanitarian impact doesn't matter.

Firing zones aren't clearly marked. Residents say little or no military activity occurs there. Affected Palestinians are among those most in need. Limited essential services are available.

Regular demolitions target residents. Israeli settlement outposts aren't threatened. Families living in or near firing zones are herders. They need livestock grazing land. They're greatly restricted. 

Violators face substantial fines and/or imprisonment. Villagers also have to pay costs for their own property confiscations and/or demolitions. They're punished two or more times over.

Palestinians in firing zones face property losses, IDF harassment, water scarcity, movement restrictions, and settler violence.

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Israel spurns its occupying power obligations. It ignores basic needs and welfare. It violates international law with impunity. It creates hellish conditions for affected Palestinians.

In recent weeks, Firing Zone 918 made headlines. Eight villages in the West Bank's southernmost area are affected. Over 1,500 Palestinians live there. On July 23, Israel ordered them out. Property demolitions are planned.

On August 7, the IDF began closing roads. A checkpoint between Jinba and Khirbet Biral'Idd villages was established. Soldiers began harassing residents and damaging property.

Life in Occupied Palestine is hard enough. In Firing Zone 918, it's harder. In 1999, the area was first designated for military use. Around 700 Palestinians were displaced. 

In 2000, an interim High Court of Justice (HCJ) injunction halted evacuations. For over a decade, residents lived in limbo. They face constant threat of demolition, displacement and dispossession.

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Israel claims nomadic Bedouin culture constitutes nonpermanent residency. Villagers challenge lawless rulings for their rights. International law backs them. 

School records show they're permanent residents. Land they live on is theirs. They've been there for generations or longer. Displacing them has no legal standing. Israel does it anyway. It wants residents from eight to 12 villages displaced.

In early August, masked IDF soldiers raided Jinba village. They raided homes, searched them, damaged property, and mapped the site. Residents know they're targeted for dispossession. 

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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