Demonstrator holds Palestinian flag during support rally of Khan al-Ahmar residents in West Bank, 2018.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
The army on Sunday asked Bedouin residents of Khan al-Ahmar to demolish their illegally built West Bank herding village of tents and shacks that is perched off of Route 1, between Jerusalem and Jericho.
Earlier this month the High Court ruled that there was no legal impediment to the forced relocation of Khan al-Ahmar.
The court added that it preferred to see the village move by agreement with the residents. It did not give a date by which the village had to be moved.
Representatives of the 180 member village have said that Khan al-Ahmar residents want to remain in their current location, below the Kfar Adumim settlement, although they would be willing to move a short distance away from Route 1.
On Sunday police and border police officers came to the village and handed out notices asking the residents to take down their homes by October 1.
The Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that, “Pursuant to a Supreme Court ruling, residents of Khan al-Ahmar received a notice today (Sunday) requiring them to demolish all the structures on the site by October 1st, 2018.
“The Supreme Court found that the site was built without the required permits and therefore rejected the petitions submitted against the demolition.
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“We hereby emphasize that the notice was delivered in accordance with the state's obligation to allow Khan al-Ahmar residents to carry out the demolition themselves,” COGAT said.
Khan al-Ahmar spokesperson Eid Abu Khamis Jahalin said in response that the Jewish people were just about to enter the holiday of Sukkot during which time they leave their homes to dwell in temporary structures.
“After they return home. But we live in sukkot (temporary structures) all year round,” Abu Khamis Jahalin said.
“Soon we won’t have these sukkot,” he said.
He call on all those who support Khan al-Ahmar to join in a number of solidarity actives this week, including a Wednesday solidarity visit to the village and a Sunday rally in Jerusalem.
The United Nations, the Arab League, the Palestinian Authority and the European Union as well as many of their individual member states have called on Israel not to demolish the village.
According to photographic and ariel evidence the Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin, who are members of the Jahalin tribe, have pitched their tents at the village’s current location since the 1970s and 1980s.
The state wants to move them to a newly developed neighborhood of the West Bank Area C town of Abu Dis, called Jahalin West. The Khan Al-Ahma residents have opposed the move, in part because the site is located next to a garbage dump.
Right wing politicians and Israelis who support the state’s relocation push, believe that the reason the Khan al-Ahmar residents want to remain at their current location is political. They charge that the Palestinian Authority is using the village to seek to exert territorial control over a critical area of Area C, just outside of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement and Jerusalem.
The supporters of Khan al-Ahmar also agree that geopolitics are a part of the issue, with the Palestinians arguing that the area is important for the future viability of their state.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen
said on Sunday that the Israeli government’s wanted to relocate Khan al-Ahmar so it could “forcibly implement its annexation plan and prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian state at any cost.”
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