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Israeli court upholds eviction order

JERUSALEM, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- An Israeli court upheld the decision to evict 1,500 villagers from Palestinian settlements in the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank.

The High Court of Justice on Thursday sided with a state order to demolish eight unauthorized Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills located in an Israeli military firing zone, The Jerusalem Post reported.

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The court said the villagers could remain in their homes until November.

The court also ruled that the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, which sought to stop the eviction in 2000, could refile its petition on behalf of the villagers.

The original petition involved 12 villages, but in July the Israeli Defense Ministry said it would allow four of the villages to use a portion of the firing zone for their homes.

The matter was inactive for years despite the court case. It was revived recently because illegal Palestinian construction in one of the firing zones conflicted with increased use of the area by the Israeli military, the Post said.

The association said it plans to file a new petition concerning the eight other villages.

A U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report said that, since 2010, 45 percent of demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures in one area of the West Bank have occurred in firing zones. About 820 Palestinians were displaced, the report said.

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The report said 38 villages with populations totaling 5,000 are in Israeli military firing zones in the West Bank.

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