Israel declares Khan al-Ahmar a closed military zone during European visit

The High Court of Justice ruled in May that the village of tents and shacks, housing 52 members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe could be razed because it was illegally constructed on state land.

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July 6, 2018 00:25
2 minute read.
Israel declares Khan al-Ahmar a closed military zone during European visit

Palestinians check their belongings after the army removed their tent at Susiya village, July 5, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/MUSSA QAWASMA)

 
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Border Police declared the illegal Palestinian Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar a closed military zone as European officials visited the area.

Shehab news posted a video on its Twitter account of Border Police reading out the military order.

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Ireland’s representative office in Ramallah tweeted: “Visited #KhanAlAhmar this morning with a number of colleagues to show our solidarity with the community, at heightened risk of forcible transfer. We were briefed by local leaders but refused access by security forces to the school, which was funded in part by the EU.”

The British consulate in east Jerusalem said that its officials who visited the area were able to go in and out without a problem.

The Civil Administration began building a dirt access road this week, in preparation for the demolition of the tents and shacks that make up the village. It also plans to raze the small school on the community’s edge.

The international community, primarily the United Nations and European countries such as Britain, France, Germany and Sweden have called on Israel to halt the demolition.

On Thursday night, Khan al-Ahmar residents issued another appeal for help.

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“We therefore call upon the international community, friends and comrades of Khan al-Ahmar, to take a clear stand and fast actions against this injustice of the violent and brutal displacement the Palestinian Bedouin community for a second time by Israel.”

“The international community should hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the displacement of Palestinians and the gross violation of the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar,” it said.

The High Court of Justice ruled in May that the village of tents and shacks, housing 52 members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe could be razed because it was illegally constructed on state land.

Israel wants to relocate the families to permanent homes in the nearby town of Abu Dis, but the Khan al-Ahmar families want to remain where they are presently located, on the edge of the E1 area of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement.

They are also close to the Kfar Adumim settlement, which is planning to build 92 new homes next to the location of their village.

Right-wing activists held a small protest next to the village to urge the Civil Administration to carry out the demolition orders, noting that it was discriminatory to take down Jewish illegal homes in the Judea and Samaria, while failing to do the same to Palestinian and Bedouin ones.

The EU said late Wednesday night that Israel’s settlement policy is illegal under international law, and so are actions taken in that context against Palestinians, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes.

“The EU expects the Israeli authorities to reverse these decisions and fully meet its obligations as an occupying power under International Humanitarian Law,” the EU spokesperson said.

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