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Palestinian protesters block Israeli attempt to destroy village, homes

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)
Palestinians protest and block Israeli soldiers from demolishing Khan al-Ahmar village. (File photo by Reuters)

More than 200 Palestinians are taking part in a two-day vigil in Khan al-Ahmar, east of al-Quds, to block an Israeli attempt to destroy the village and displace its people, while others have gone on strike in al-Quds’s Jabal Mukabber in protest against home demolitions.

The Palestinian protesters gathered at the entrance of the village to voice their objection to the Israeli ruling and prevent the Israeli army from carrying out the demolition.

According to the Palestinian WAFA news agency, head of the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission Muayyad Shaban said that he had called for the two-day vigil on Tuesday, one day before the Israeli Supreme Court was scheduled to issue a ruling on this issue.

Concern over demolishing the village, where 200 people live, half of them children, was heightened following a call by far-right Israeli minister Itamar Ben Gvir to immediately demolish it and kick out its residents.

Khan al-Ahmar, which includes 25 Bedouin communities, has been at risk of demolition by the Israeli authorities for several years.

Issam al-Ahmad, deputy head of the Directorate of Education of the suburbs of al-Quds, told Palestine TV that the demolition policies of houses and facilities across Palestine, especially Khan al-Ahmar, are not new.

“The school of Khan al-Ahmar was established 15 years ago, and since that moment, the Israeli occupation has been threatening to demolish it. This takes place at a time Palestinian children should enjoy the right to study in a safe and appropriate environment and circumstances, which does not happen often in the occupied territories,” he explained.

Also, a resident from the Bedouin village told Palestine TV on Tuesday that the home demolition policies are not strictly limited to Khan al-Ahmar.

“Just like they attack Khan al-Ahmar, they attack other Palestinian residential areas. They attacked Khan al-Ahmar multiple times, including major attacks in 2000 and 2018. We will not leave Khan al-Ahmar, and they can maybe demolish our houses, but they will never be able to demolish our morale and adherence to our rights and lands,” he said.

In September 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court gave green light to the village’s removal, leaving it open to being demolished at any time. However, these plans have since been put on hold several times.

In the same context, Palestinian residents of Jabal al-Mukabber neighborhood of occupied East al-Quds also observed a general strike on Tuesday, in protest against the Israeli recent wave of home demolitions under the pretext of construction without a permit.

Residents closed roads with burnt tires and rocks and poured oil on the streets to prevent Israeli bulldozers and army vehicles from entering the neighborhood to carry out more demolitions.

According to WAFA, the Israeli occupation army intends to demolish 14 other Palestinian homes in different neighborhoods of the occupied city in the next few days.

The demolition of Palestinian homes across the occupied territories has increased since an extreme far-right administration led by Benjamin Netanyahu took office. Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, ministers of the new cabinet are seen as racist and fascist by the Palestinians for publicly advocating the expulsion of Palestinians and the demolition of their homes, supporting Israeli extremist groups repeatedly attacking Palestinians, and stirring incitement to racism against Arabs and non-Jews.

Israel routinely demolishes Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds. The pretense is that the homes were built without a permit. However, the Israeli regime rarely, if ever, approves such permits for Palestinians. The Israeli forces also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own houses or pay the costs of the demolition.

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