The Israeli military has reportedly sent reinforcements to Khan al-Ahmar as it prepares to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village in the West Bank, according to a report from September 13th by the Palestinian Information Center.
The village is located east of Jerusalem. Israeli forces have reportedly completely besieged the village and have deployed bulldozers.
On September 5th, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected appeals against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and said a temporary injunction that had put the move on hold would expire within seven days, which expired on September 12th.
Tel Aviv says the village is built illegally, but Palestinians say the demolition is part of Israel’s “forcible displacement policy” to make room for its settlement construction activities on occupied land, as reported by PressTV.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) condemned the Israeli court’s “illegal” decision, saying it was meant to isolate Jerusalem. It also stressed that the demolition plan is part of the regime’s attempts “to try to legalize the crimes of the Israeli occupation and its policies which are based on the forcible settlement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian residents of their land and property.”
The United Nations urged Israel not to demolish the village, home to 180 Palestinians, adding that the planned move violates international law. On September 10th, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Britain called on Israel not to raze the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar after Israel’s Supreme Court decision. In a statement, the five European Union powers said, “We therefore join (EU) High Representative/Vice-President (Federica) Mogherini in reiterating our call to the Israeli government not to go ahead with its plan to demolish the village – including its school – and displace its residents.”
“The consequences a demolition and displacement would have on the residents of this community, including their children, as well as on the prospects of the two-state solution would be very serious,” they added.
On September 11th, Aawsat cited Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat who stressed that Israel should be held accountable for its plan to demolish the village. The outlet also reported that Palestinians have filed a war crimes claim at the the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) over Israel’s plan to raze the West Bank Bedouin village.
The dossier submitted “included a focus on the war crimes facing Khan al-Ahmar, specifically the crimes of forcible displacement, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of civilian property,” Erekat said.
However, US National Security Adviser John Bolton attacked the ICC, threatening to sanction judges and other officials should the court conduct any probe into Israel or other US allies.
The PA further called on Palestinians to come to the streets of Khan al-Ahmar to protest any attempt to demolish the village. On the morning of September 11th, Palestinian activists came to protest Israel’s plan to demolish the village and relocate its 180 residents to a site 12 km away.
On September 13th, the Palestinian activist encampment was demolished by Israeli forces, as reported by the National. bout 200 soldiers converged on the encampment near Khan Al Ahmar before dawn, dismantled the shacks and carried them away in lorries, protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmeh told Associated Press.
According to Aawsat the new site is next to a landfill, citing rights advocates who say a forcible transfer of the residents would violate international law applying to occupied territory.
According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
Despite the resolution, The EU representative office said in July 2018 that settlement expansion had continued at a faster rate in the first six months of this year than between July and December 2017. This is most likely a result of the increased support Israel is receiving from US President Donald Trump, who angered Palestinians and caused global concern after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite its internationally disputed status and cutting off U.S. aid to the United Nations agency that cares for Palestinian refugees.
Also on September 13th, Israel reopened the only exit point for residents of Gaza, more than a week after closing it as a result of a large Palestinian protest.