Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the demolition of eight Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills because the territory is needed for Israel Defense Forces training exercises, the state told the High Court of Justice on Sunday.
The residents of the targeted villages will be moved to the town of Yatta and its environs; the state claims, based on information it obtained from local informers that most of these people have permanent homes in that area.
The state will allow the residents to work their lands and graze their flocks there when the IDF is not training – on weekends and Jewish holidays – and during two other periods of one month each during the year. Barak agreed to leave four villages that are in the northernmost part of the area, even though this would reduce the dimensions of training area and prevent the use of live fire.
The villages slated for demolition are the larger villages in the region: Majaz, Tabban, Sfai, Fakheit, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba, and Kharuba, which have a total of 1,500 residents. The villages to be spared are Tuba, Mufaqara, Sarura and Megheir al-Abeid, which have a total of 300 residents.
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