Israeli forces advance evictions in Masafer Yatta, West Bank
The occupation forces are preparing to expel hundreds of Palestinians from the Masafer Yatta region in the southern Hebron Hills to make way for a military training ground, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
The move comes less than two weeks after Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as the prime minister of the most right-wing government in Israel's history.
Some 1,000 residents of the eight hamlets that make up Masafer Yatta are to be expelled after an order was upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court after a two-decade legal battle.
Local officials and rights groups said Israeli defence officials informed them that the expulsions would begin soon.
The Israeli military has designated the area as a live-fire training zone, but Palestinians say they have lived in the area long before the Israeli designation.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war in violation of international law.
The eviction planning began independently two months ago, Haaretz reported senior defence and political officials as saying, but the plan was first shown to the new Israeli cabinet just last week.
Fears have grown in the area amid increasing Israeli intimidation. Israeli forces demolished homes and an agricultural facility in Masafer Yatta last week.