Does the International Community even Care about Khan al-Ahmar?

Tensions heightened in Khan al-Ahmar, as Israeli forces entered the village with bulldozers. (Photo: via ActiveStills.org)

By Ramona Wadi

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar will be demolished “very soon”. Needless to say, the purported international community’s preoccupation with the issue and mainstream media furore are nowhere to be seen. Khan Al-Ahmar is old news; it is repetitive. It is also of no concern to the parties who could if they really wanted to, put an end to the forced displacement of Palestinians.

The fact is that the international community couldn’t care less about Israel forcibly displacing Palestinians from Khan Al-Ahmar, or any other location within the shredded remains of their land. International institutions, however, keep coercing Palestinians into begging for their rights from compromised and complicit platforms.

This is why the international community prefers a selective focus that creates enough agitation for human rights rhetoric but also affirms the absence of a plan that would not only restore basic human rights but also guarantee their permanence. Khan Al-Ahmar was never an international concern, and it is time for Palestinians to declare their concerns as part of their own narrative, as opposed to letting the international agenda and human rights hyperbole dictate the inscription of their own tragedy.

If the international community was serious about halting Israel’s growing trail of forcibly displacing Palestinians from their land and destroying their villages, it would have highlighted Khan Al-Ahmar’s predicament as a visible part of the collective Palestinian struggle. The village’s visibility is not a call to ignore other ongoing resistance activities against Israel’s forced displacement of the indigenous people. The international community, however, preferred to isolate Khan Al-Ahmar into a propaganda beacon, a status which Palestinians do not call for and which ultimately distorts their struggles into fragmented pseudo-victories.

The village’s residents speak of their land rights, as all Palestinians do. The international community distorts such rights into issues that fit into the obsolete two-state paradigm. Israel’s colonization of Palestine has shown that there is no correlation between human rights and institutions. Likewise, there is no correlation between the two-state compromise and Palestinian rights, apart from within the upper echelons of the Palestinian Authority which reject the Palestinian narratives in favor of external impositions.

Instead of asking international organizations to intervene on the forced displacement of Palestinians, why is there no collective effort to dismantle the veneer that has allowed these organizations to prolong human rights violations? There is no new strategy that challenges these chambers of power. Instead, there is a gradual assimilation to thinking in terms of international law without realizing that such constructs are intentionally stagnated, even as the politics of violence evolve in ways which legislation cannot keep up with. And of course, it is a premeditated system that dictates platforms for expression and no guarantee of rights implementation.

On what grounds did the UN decide that Khan Al-Ahmar was worthy of attention a few weeks ago but not now? Netanyahu’s threat was always imminent, but by marginalizing Khan al-Ahmar, as it has done to other Palestinian communities and villages since the 1948 Nakba, the international community is sending out a clear message to Palestinians: the UN is under no obligation to safeguard Palestinian rights, nor it will not tolerate any action that is not taken from within an international framework. This farce is all regardless of the fact that Palestine is Palestinian and not an international concoction dreamt up to keep bureaucrats busy.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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