Knesset to Discuss IDF's Use of Live-fire Zones to Relocate Palestinians

Comes in wake of Haaretz expose in late May that military exercises in live-fire zones were partly aimed at removing Palestinians from those areas.

Amira Hass
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The Palestinian community of Um al Heir, South Hebron Hills, West Bank.Credit: Mairav Zonszein
Amira Hass

The Knesset will discuss the Israel Defense Forces' use of live-fire zones as a means of removing Palestinian residents from their dwellings at a plenary discussion on Wednesday.

The discussion comes in response to an urgent question poased by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, following a report in Haaretz (May 21, 2014) that a senior IDF officer had confirmed that military exercises in live-fire zones were partly aimed at removing Palestinians from those areas.

Zandberg asked how the statement by Col. Einav Shalev accorded with the State’s version that the firing zones were chosen on purely military grounds. She also asked what would be done in order to avoid using the army for political purposes.

A motion for an urgent discussion on the same topic was filed by MK Dov Khenin (Hadash). His motion was based both on the report in Haaretz and on the State’s reply to a petition filed with the High Court of Justice.

In its reply on May 29, the State declared its intention to legalize seven houses belonging to settlers in the outpost of Avigayl, situated in Firing Zone 918. That is the same zone in which the state is seeking to destroy eight Palestinian villages and expel their residents.

MK Khenin’s urgent motion was joined by MK Eitan Cabel (Labor), MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) and MK Ibrahim Sarsur (Ra’am-Ta’al.) The motion was denied by the Knesset’s presidium, but when the deputy minister replies to Zandberg’s question, he will have to respond to the questions of the other Knesset members as well.

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