Israeli military attack anti-annexation protest

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Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa in the northern Jordan Valley, after its demolition by the occupation forces

ISRAELI forces cracked down on an anti-annexation protest yesterday which was heading towards Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa village, near Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley, injuring dozens.

A large Israeli military force violently dispersed the rally whih was organised against the Israeli occupation authorities’ plan to annex the site of the demolished village and the larger Jordan Valley.

Soldiers opened fire on the protesters with tear gas canisters and concussion grenades as they reached Tayaseer military checkpoint, east of Tubas city, which was closed in advance, causing dozens to suffocate with the toxic gas.

Four protesters sustained injuries after being directly hit with tear gas canisters in their feet and were treated at the scene. Two others sustained injuries after being struck with tear gas canisters in the head and the abdomen. Both cases were rushed to

hospital.

Israeli troops showered journalists with tear gas canisters at the scene to stop them covering the events.

Hundreds of Palestinians participated in the mass protest which had been called by a number of national factions in support of the village of Khirbet Hamsa al-Fawqa, which Israeli forces demolished three weeks ago.

The Jordan Valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.

Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of their settlements were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.

The Israel military has also designated about 46% of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since the beginning of the occupation in June 1967, and has been using the pretext of military drills to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing and stifling Palestinian development in the area.