Demolition of Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar is cruel blow and war crime
Demolition of Palestinian village of Khan...
Israel's Supreme Court has twice ruled in favour of demolishing the village, first on 24 May and again on 5 September, following a desperate appeal by the occupants. "By the High Court decision, you must demolish all buildings within the Khan al-Ahmar no later than 1 October 2018" the notice read. "If you refuse, the authorities will enforce demolition orders as per court decision and the law."
Khan al-Ahmar is located on the eastern desert hillside of Jerusalem, beside an Israeli highway that leads to the Dead Sea, in part of the West Bank, which international law considers as illegally occupied by Israel for the past 50 years.
The 35 families who live in Khan Al-Ahmar are from the Jahalin tribe, a Bedouin family expelled from the Naqab desert - also referred to as the Negev - after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
By removing Khan al-Ahmar, the authorities will be able to construct units linking the illegal settlements of Kfar Adumim and Maale Adumim with East Jerusalem in the Israeli-controlled Area C, splitting the West Bank in half.
“After nearly a decade of trying to fight the injustice of this demolition, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar now approach the devastating day when they will see their home of generations torn down before their eyes,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“This act is not only heartless and discriminatory; it is illegal. The forcible transfer of the Khan al-Ahmar community amounts to a war crime. Israel must end its policy of destroying Palestinians’ homes and livelihoods to make way for settlements.”
Israel’s policies of settling Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, wantonly destroying property and forcibly transferring Palestinians living under occupation, violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes listed in the statute of the International Criminal Court.
Also according to International human rights law forced evictions are illegal; they are never justified, even where people do not have a legally recognized right to the land or house that they occupy. Forced evictions constitute a grave violation of the right to housing and they often lead to violations of several other human rights such as the rights to life, food, water, health, education and work.
Khan al-Ahmar is not the first community in the West Bank to be earmarked for demolition and its residents forcibly evicted.
Since 1967, Israel has demolished more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to Amnesty. The first to be razed were the Palestinian villages of Emmaus, Yalo and Bayt Nuba, which were home to around 4,500 Palestinians, in the Latrun hilltop area between Jerusalem and Jaffa. That same year, Israeli forces and bulldozers destroyed the 770-year-old Moroccan Quarter inside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem and evicted its 660 residents to pave a way to what is now the Western Wall Plaza.
On 30 September, Amnesty International, alongside Jewish Voice for Peace, launched a Twitter storm targeting the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), an Israeli Defence ministry unit responsible for implementing government policy in Area C of the West Bank, ahead of the planned demolition on 1 October.