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Israel’s planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar village war crime: Amnesty International

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem al-Quds, is seen decorated with Palestinian flags by activists and residents of the village in the occupied West Bank, on October 2, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Amnesty International has censured Israel’s plans to demolish a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank and forcibly transfer its residents as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its land expropriation policies in the occupied territories irrespective of great international outcry.

“After nearly a decade of trying to fight the injustice of this demolition, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar now approach the devastating day when they will see their home of generations torn down before their eyes,” Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said.

He added, “This act is not only heartless and discriminatory; it is illegal. The forcible transfer of the Khan al-Ahmar community amounts to a war crime. Israel must end its policy of destroying Palestinians’ homes and livelihoods to make way for settlements.” 

Some 180 residents of Khan-al Ahmar village face being forcibly evicted and transferred by the Israeli army.

Israeli authorities have reportedly offered the villagers a choice of two possible destinations: a site near the former Jerusalem al-Quds municipal garbage dump, near the village of Abu Dis, or a site in the vicinity of a sewage plant close to the city of Ariha (Jericho).

Israel’s Supreme Court has twice ruled in favor of demolishing the entire village of Khan al-Ahmar, first on May 24 and again on September 5 this year.

The demolition order includes the village’s school, which is constructed from rubber tires and provides education for some 170 children from five different Bedouin communities. 

Israeli officials allege that Palestinian structures there have been built without the relevant building permits and pose a threat to residents because of their proximity to a highway.

A Palestinian demonstrator releases firecrackers during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against Israel's nation-state law and Israel's plans to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, on October 2, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Critics, on the other hand, maintain that building permits are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank and the demolition is meant to clear the way for new settlements.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has submitted a new complaint over the Israeli "war crime" against Khan al-Ahmar village at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on September 11 that the dossier “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.”

He added that the PLO had also asked ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to expedite a preliminary probe into other Israeli war crimes.

“We hope that an official judicial investigation can be opened as soon as possible,” Erekat noted.

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