The Israeli state has called on the Israeli Supreme Court to approve plans to demolish an entire Palestinian Bedouin community and forcibly transfer its residents to the town of Abu Dis, which human rights groups say would amount to a war crime.
The state submitted its response to the court on Sunday regarding 46 demolition orders threatening the community of Khan al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank, saying the village should be demolished by the middle of 2018.
Another petition has also been submitted by Israeli settlers asking for the demolition of the school in the community, which was established in 2009 and serves more than 150 children between the ages of six and fifteen – some of them from neighboring communities.
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) September 25, 2017
No date has yet been scheduled for the court to rule on the case.
Israeli NGO Peace Now, which monitors settlement expansion, stressed in a statement Monday that “This type of forceful evacuation of protected persons constitutes a severe violation of international humanitarian law.”
“While the government argues that the residents of Khan al-Ahmar will receive alternative housing, they will in fact be evicted against their will for the benefit of settlers, and placed above a garbage dump in Abu Dis,” the statement said.
— Lacuna Magazine (@Lacunamagazine) September 21, 2017
The group further accused the Israeli government of advocating for the forcible displacement of Khan al-Ahmar’s residents as “compensation” to right-wing Israelis, ahead of the evacuation of an illegal settlement outpost called Derech HaAvot that the Supreme Court ordered to be demolished.
While settler outposts constructed in occupied Palestinian territory are considered illegal by the Israeli government, each of the some 196 government-approved Israeli settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have also been established in direct violation of international law.
According to B’Tselem, Khan al-Ahmar, which is situated on land Israel has earmarked for illegal settlement expansion in the area, is home to 32 families – about 173 individuals, including 92 minors.
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) September 20, 2017
Israeli forces notified Khan al-Ahmar’s residents last week that they are at risk of imminent forcible transfer from their lands, weeks after Israeli Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly announced that plans were underway to expel them within a few months.
Earlier this year, Israeli authorities delivered demolition notices to every single home in Khan al-Ahmar, including the village’s school.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)