KHAN AL-AHMAR, PALESTINE — Israel has been preparing to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank. Activists and area residents have responded by boarding up buildings and blocking bulldozers set to demolish the village.
Demolition of the village would include the forcible transfer of an indigenous population that was previousl7 forced to leave their homeland during the Nakba, or catastrophe, in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee. The residents of Khan al-Ahmar, who fled there over 50 years ago, had vowed to never abandon their land again.
In May, demolition of the entire village was authorized by the Israeli Supreme Court on the grounds that all of the homes there were built without the proper permits.
Palestine Liberation Organization committee member Hanan Ashrawi condemned Israel’s plans:
The protection of Palestinian families and the forcible transfer of our indigenous population to a state of homelessness and despair is completely unacceptable.
We call on the Israeli government to immediately cancel its unlawful plans to demolish the Palestinian community of Khan al-Ahmar.
The fact that Israel wants to demolish an entire village where its residents have been residing for fifty years for the sole purpose of expanding the illegal West Bank settlement of Kfar Adumim is outrageous and inhumane.»
Authorities have offered an alternative site for the villages to relocate. However, the new land appears to be next to a garbage dump.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 35 Palestinians have been wounded protesting the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar village.
Images and videos shared online by witnesses show Israeli forces beating and forcibly arresting activists and residents.
In the video below, Israeli forces can be seen struggling with a Palestinian woman. They also pulled off her headscarf.
Criticism from the international community
Israel has been facing international criticism for its plans to demolish the Bedouin herding village. The European Union and the United Nations are demanding Israel halt plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said:
In a statement on Thursday, the EU’s mission in Israel said:
These demolitions, together with plans for new settlement construction for Israelis in the same area, exacerbate threats to the viability of the two-state solution and further undermine prospects for a lasting peace.
In line with our long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reverse these decisions and fully meet its obligations as an occupying power under International Humanitarian Law.”
Diplomats from numerous European countries including France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and Spain took part in the visit to the village on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Israel’s Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction on the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank.
Top Photo | Protesters surround a bulldozer in the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, July 4, 2018. Israeli police scuffled with with people protesting the demolition of the village which is Israel says is illegal due to a lack of building permits, despite being on Palestinian land in the West Bank. Majdi Mohammed | AP
Emma Fiala is MPN’s Editorial Assistant and social media guru. She is also a documentary photographer, mom of two, and an independent journalist. Her stories have been featured on MintPress News, the Anti-Media, Media Roots, Zero Hedge, the Mind Unleashed and Steemit. Find her on Twitter.