Protestors stand their ground at Bedouin Khan al-Ahmar site

“I feel like I did in the army, on guard duty. Now I’m doing the same for the Palestinians."

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September 16, 2018 05:06
2 minute read.
Protestors raising Palestinian flags at Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar designated for demolition, Sep

Protestors raising Palestinian flags at Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar designated for demolition, September 2018. (photo credit: ELIE AVIDOR/COMBATANTS FOR PEACE)

 
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Dozens of dedicated human rights activists from various backgrounds – Bedouin comrades, Palestinians, PA officials and steadfast Israelis – are currently camped out at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.

Their time is fast running out after the Supreme Court ruled the IDF can legally evacuate the village, following several months of appeals, and instigated many denunciations.

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Khan al-Ahmar is located near the settlement Kfar Adumim, in Area C of the West Bank and is a home to Bedouins of the Jahalin tribe. Nearby Jewish settlers are conflicted – most are advocating for the demolition of the village and the possible subsequent expansion of the settlement; others are fighting for friendship with their neighbors and for them to remain.

The case is strongly condemned by the Palestinian Authority, which threatened an ICC lawsuit, and by the EU, which last week denounced Israel and warned that its actions may constitute war crimes.

But not only abroad are people voicing their consternation. In Israel, several activists decided to fight for what they believe and take a stance against the actions their country is taking in their name. One such group is called Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian human rights group who believe in “non-violent protests and working together to end the occupation.”

“I’m on my way to the tents in Khan al-Ahmar, sleeping there to protest the evacuation,” Elie Avidor, a member of the group, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night. “We’re there, dozens, sleeping in the tents, in the school, on the ground outside. For weeks.”

For nearly three months, said Avidor, activists have been at the village 24/7 in an attempt to prevent the evacuation. After the court ruling, “the army can arrive any day, any minute, and start demolishing everything.”

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Avidor described the variety of people who come to the site to show their support. The PA sends regular delegations, he said. Not to mention foreign non-violent protest organizations, such as All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective. An activist of the organization was was recently held at the Ben Gurion Airport and denied entry for some four hours.

“I feel the I did in the army, on guard duty. Now I’m doing the same for the Palestinians, but without a gun.” Avidor told the Post, referring to similar actions his group had taken, like in Sarura, a Palestinian village in the south of the Hebron hills.

“Our goal is to create a community, work together, build our future,” said Avidor, and stressed that this can only be done together. “Which Israelis do they [the Palestinians] meet? Soldiers and settlers. They need to meet the rest of us.”

The Israelis and foreigners who have taken a personal interest in this matter are camped out in Khan al-Ahmar, sleeping, talking, laughing, eating. “Every night there’s a spread. Falafel, hummus, everyone eating together, the food out in a long line on the floor of the tent. It’s excellent.”

Avidor says he would like to see the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel and wants to see it realized sooner rather than later.

“I’m fighting for the independence of Israel through the independence of Palestine. This is my hope,” concludes Avidor.

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