Khan Al-Ahmar: ‘Thousands of Families Live in Fear of Demolitions at Any Moment’

Feb 24 2017 / 7:01 pm
UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper. (Photo: UN.org)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

United Nations officials in Palestine conducted a visit to Khan Al-Ahmar, a Palestinian community in occupied East Jerusalem that Israel plan to evacuate.

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) issued a press release yesterday in which it stated the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper, and Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Scott Anderson, visited the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan Al-Ahmar in Area C, in the immediate outskirts of East Jerusalem.

The press release read, quoting Piper: “Khan Al-Ahmar is one of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank, struggling to maintain a minimum standard of living in the face of intense pressure from the Israeli authorities to move to a planned relocation site .. This is unacceptable and it must stop.”

UNRWA noted that on February 15-19, Israeli officials distributed dozens of military ‘stop work’ and demolition orders threatening nearly every structure (approximately 140 in total) in one of the community’s sites (Abu Al Helu).

UNRWA added, “the enforcement of these orders would directly impact the homes and livelihoods of over 140 Palestine refugees, more than half of them children. Also among the affected structures is the primary school, made of tires and mud, which was built with the support of international donors and serves around 170 children from Bedouin communities in the area.”

“The developments in Khan Al-Ahmar are not unique,” said Piper. “Thousands of families live in fear of demolitions at any moment, and entire communities exist in chronic instability. When schools are demolished, the right to education of Palestinian children is also threatened. This creates a coercive environment that forces certain Palestinian communities to move elsewhere,” he continued as saying.

“The international community must work together to provide assistance and protection to vulnerable communities and insist that international law is respected,” he concluded.

Khan al Ahmar is one of 46 communities in the central West Bank (combined population of approximately 7,000, of whom 70 per cent are Palestine refugees), which the UN assesses as at risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli plans to move them to one of three designated ‘relocation’ sites, which would be a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

(PalestineChronicle.com)

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