A 40-year-old document found in the Israel State Archives recently offers a rare look into the state’s actions to force Palestinians from their homes. It shows that in the 1980s, the state declared an area as a military shooting zone for the sole purpose of removing its residents.
The document was submitted to the High Court of Justice in July, in a bid to help a few hundred Palestinians who remained in the vicinity of Yatta, a town in the South Hebron Hills, to fight the state’s efforts to remove them.
The document – minutes of a July 1981 meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Settlement Affairs – indicates that Ariel Sharon, who was the minister of agriculture at the time, proposed that land in the South Hebron Hills be allocated to the Israel Defense Force for live-fire training. Sharon explained that he wanted the military to use the land on account of “the expansion of the Arab villagers from the hills.”