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Israeli rights group urges EU to prevent demolition of West Bank Bedouin village

Like most Palestinian Bedouin villages, Khan al-Ahmar is made up mainly of makeshift structures of tin and wood
THOMAS COEX (AFP)

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said Saturday that it has appealed to the European Union to intervene to prevent the razing of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, after the bloc condemned the demolition of the village and displacement of its residents as a threat to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad said that he penned a letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini urging her to take action to prevent the evacuation and demolition of the village, which is slated to take place as early as next Wednesday.

The EU has warned repeatedly that the razing of the village and displacement of its nearly 180 residents would have serious consequences and undermine any future solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We have reached the juncture where it appears that these serious consequences must be spelled out, if the EU is to credibly back its own positions,” El-Ad wrote in his letter to Mogherini.

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected a last-ditch appeal by the residents of Khan al-Ahmar and ruled, after nine years of legal battles, that a temporary order preventing the razing of the village during the court hearings “will be cancelled within seven days from today.”

ABBAS MOMANI (AFP)

Israeli authorities say that village was built illegally, without proper permits, and that it is too close the the major roadway. Activists say Khan al-Ahmar was established without permits after the Jahalin Bedouin tribe, originally from the Negev desert, were expelled from the area by the Israeli military in the 1950's and then again from Kfar Adumim, where they leased land.

The village is located east of Jerusalem near several Israeli settlements along a road leading to the Dead Sea, in a strategic area known as "E1". Israeli settlements in the E1 area form a buffer east of Jerusalem that Palestinians say would divide the West Bank and badly hurt the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.

“In their occupation-serving decision, the justices ignored both the context of a completely one-sided planning regime, where building ‘legally’ is an option reserved for settlers and denied from protected persons,” El-Ad wrote of the court’s decision.

He charged that the court’s ruling was part of an Israeli attempt to minimize Palestinian presence in “Area C” of the West Bank, which makes up some 60 percent of West Bank territory and over which Israel has administrative control according to the terms of the 1995 Oslo accords.

“The destruction of an entire Palestinian community is the clearest recent expression of Israel’s unabashed disregard for the supposed shared values that presumably lie at the core of its relationship with the EU,” El-Ad wrote.

THOMAS COEX (AFP)

He called on the bloc to use its “ample leverage” to prevent the demolition of the village by “showing Israel that unacceptable human rights violations will have serious consequences and spelling out exactly what it stands to lose.”

Diplomats from Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union all expressed concern over the demolition of the village, which became a matter for international attention after officials from those nations were barred by Israeli police from visiting a school there.

The EU issued a statement following the court’s ruling on Thursday saying that the bloc expects Israeli authorities to reconsider the decision in light of international law and a future solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The consequences of a demolition of this community and the displacement of its residents, including children, against their will, would be very serious and would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace,” the statement from the EU delegation to Israel said.

“Israel’s settlement policy,” which the EU states is “illegal under international law” has long been the subject of global criticism, as Palestinians have seen the prospects of a contiguous future Palestinian state diminish with the gradual expansion of Jewish settlement over the last several decades.

Comments

(2)

What that, the EU has to do with what the decision of the State of Israel is. There is no states solution, there will ever Be. Israel is a sovereign Jewish Nation and that’s the way is gonna stay. Is a direct sovereign commanded by God himself...

My dad lived to 91, you know how he did it? He minded his own business. Follow his advice MYOB. Do you hear me eu and un MYOB.

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