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France calls on Israel to abandon planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar village

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)
An Israeli army soldier stands next to excavators in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem al-Quds in the occupied West Bank on October 16, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The French Foreign Ministry has called on Israeli officials to “permanently abandon their plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar and to remove the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the village” as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its land expropriation policies in the occupied territories irrespective of great international outcry.

The ministry said in a statement that France takes note of the decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar for the time being, stressing that the Bedouin village is “located in an area that is key to the contiguity of a future Palestinian state and therefore the viability of the two-state solution.”

“France, in collaboration with its European partners, has repeatedly called on Israeli authorities not to proceed with the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar and the forced evacuation of its inhabitants,” the statement pointed out.

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.

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.

Palestinian demonstrators shout slogans near Israeli forces during a protest on October 5, 2018 along a highway leading to the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, which Israeli authorities plan to demolish, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

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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