Israeli forces have dismantled several shacks near Khan al-Ahmar set up by Palestinian activists to protest against the planned demolition of the Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli border police arrived before dawn on Thursday and dismantled the protest camp, according to witnesses.
Update: the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is starting with the destruction of four new houses built earlier this week as an act of protest pic.twitter.com/AitqemhdV2
— +972 Magazine (@972mag) September 13, 2018
Israel’s plan to demolish the village, home to nearly 200 people, and relocate its residents has been criticized by Palestinians and drawn international condemnation.
Walid Assaf, head of the commission against the wall and settlements, told Al Jazeera:
“We hope that … it will satisfy them that they succeeded in destroying the five houses. It was not our battle to fight, defending the empty houses. Our battle is to defend the houses of Khan al-Ahmar.”
A young child at the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, expected to be destroyed by Israeli forces in the coming days. Five caravans were demolished this morning pic.twitter.com/f8OZjyu5ge
— Joe (@joedyke) September 13, 2018
The predawn operation raised fears among residents that the demolition would occur soon, but the Israeli forces left the area after they removed the shacks.
The Bedouin village is located in a strategic spot near Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) September 13, 2018
The Israeli defense ministry body, which oversees civilian activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, said the five caravans had been pitched illegally over the past few days.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said:
“The erection of these structures was advanced by representatives of the Palestinian Authority in protest and defiance of the decision of the (Israeli) High Court of Justice, and in opposition to the enforcement of Israeli law in Area C.”
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) September 12, 2018
It was referring to the 61 percent of the occupied West Bank where Israel exercises full civil as well as military authority.
Last week, Israel’s top court rejected petitions to prevent the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, agreeing with Israeli authorities who said it was built without proper permits.
European Parliament resolution on ‘the threat of demolition of #KhanalAhmar & other Bedouin villages’: Warns Israeli authorities that the demolition & forcible transfer would constitute a ‘grave breach of international law’; Calls on #EU to demand compensation from #Israel?? pic.twitter.com/c5QHKkFVDe
— Noa Landau (@noa_landau) September 13, 2018
Palestinians say that the required building permits are impossible to obtain.
Abu Khamis, a village spokesman, said:
“Over there, there are a number of settlements allowed to grow naturally – the number of residents naturally – but here we are banned from doing a single thing.”
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) September 12, 2018
On Monday, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain issued a renewed call for Israel not to demolish the village, warning of the consequences for residents as well as “the prospects of the two-state solution”.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)