The Israeli army is trying to sell the animals it has unlawfully seized from Palestinian farmers in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley back to them.
In a most recent case, the Israeli army has published advertisements for the sale of 40 donkeys in Arabic, targeting an audience of Palestinian farmers from whom the animals were seized in the first place.
Israeli authorities say they took wandering livestock in the interests of public safety, especially to reduce road accidents.
A text accompanying the advertisements for the sale of the donkeys reads that the animals will be auctioned off if unclaimed by their owners, who say it will be very costly for them if they try to reclaim the animals.
Extortion aimed at driving Palestinians out
Arif Daraghmeh, the head of a council of 26 hamlets in the valley’s al-Maleh district, said the farmers will have to pay fines of up to 2,000 Israeli shekels (526 US dollars) for each donkey.
The farmers say Israel’s policy of confiscations and demolitions in the area is aimed at driving local residents out of the valley, which has abundant water resources and fertile farmland along the border with Jordan.
Sixty-year-old Sliman Besharat said Israeli forces have quarantined his goats in the past.
“By confiscating animals and agricultural equipment and demolishing houses, animal shelters and other structures, the Israelis are putting pressure on the Palestinians to leave the Jordan Valley,” Besharat said.
He added, “Whoever controls the valley controls the border (with Jordan) and access to water and farmland.”
Yusef, a resident of the northeastern West Bank city of Tubas, located 21 kilometers (13 miles) northeast of Nablus, said he has lost dozens of animals in the past, either because of confiscation or thirst due to the lack of access to water.
He added that Israeli military forces are constantly threatening them with expulsion from the area and the seizure of their livestock.
“The soldiers load them (animals) on trucks and tell us that we’re in a closed military zone. Or they come through in their tanks and nothing survives, not a concealed bird’s egg or a baby gazelle lying on the ground,” Yusef said.
This photo shows the property that Israeli authorities seized from a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem al-Quds in early May 2016.
In early May, Israeli authorities expropriated land from a Palestinian family living in East Jerusalem al-Quds, and then handed it over to the Amana organization, which works to establish illegal settlements and outposts.
The plan was prepared and approved without the family’s knowledge. The area map was redrawn to claim that the Palestinians had never owned the land, thus legitimizing the expropriation.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories they are built on were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.