Monday, October 26, 2020

Al Khan Al Ahmar demolition approaches

By Annelies Verbeek - July 05, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Bedouin] [demolition] [Settlement Expansion] [E1]

Israeli forces are taking several measures in and around the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al Khan Al Ahmar, measuring houses, and listing the villagers’ possessions. 

On Wednesday before dawn, Israeli forces opened the barrier between the village and the highway located next to it.
Several bulldozers arrived later Wednesday morning. They appeared to be clearing the area, to make the future entrance of demolition bulldozers easier.
Clashes ensued between Israeli security forces, Palestinians and activists at the scene.
Among those arrested was Israeli human rights group B’tselem’s field researcher Kareem Jubran. He was released in the evening.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported that at least 35 Palestinians were wounded, of which four were transferred to the hospital.
The bulldozers left at 4:30PM without demolishing any structures yet.
Al Khan Al Ahmar has received a lot of media attention since May 24, when the Israeli supreme court ruled that the entire village should be destroyed.
Al Khan Al Ahmar is important for all the Bedouin living in the area because it holds a school that serves around Bedouin 170 children, that otherwise have to go great distances to receive education.
The Jahalin Bedouin living there are originally from the Negev, in the South of what is now Israel.
They were expelled by the Israeli army in the early 1950s, and set up new homes along the Jerusalem Jericho road in the West Bank.
When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, it refused to recognise the structures as residential areas. Citing that the buildings were illegal, Israel has blocked any improvement to the houses, or the building of new structures.
The Bedouin were never connected to an electricity network or water grid.
Since the seventies, Israel has built four illegal settlements around Al Khan Al Ahmar, severely restricting the freedom of movement of its inhabitants, who need land to graze their sheep.
Villagers reported that settlers regularly throw stones at children that come too close.
It is for the expansion of one of these four settlements, Kfar Adumim, that the village is now being demolished.
The Israeli State is planning to forcibly transfer the Bedouin to an area called “Jabal West.” An area next to the former Jerusalem municipal garbage dump.
The Bedouin and activists have complained that the new area does not constitute a healthy living environment, due to toxic gasses arising from the collected waste.
Moreover, the Bedouin’s traditional herding lifestyle would be destroyed in this urban environment. Different tribes are forced to live together in a confined space, in stark contrast with the dispersed way Bedouin normally live.
UNRWA has documented how Israel forcing the different tribes to live in the same space, destroyed the Bedouin’s sense of security.
Human Rights Organisations have warned that forcible transfer of people in occupied territory constitutes a war crime, and that the judges issuing the ruling, the Israeli Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister, would bear individual responsibility.
Lead photo: Hisham abu Shaqra.

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