International aid at risk as Israel threatens to demolish entire Palestinian village
Israeli authorities, accompanied by army and police forces this week entered the Bedouin village of Khan Al Ahmar in the Occupied West Bank, issuing military orders placing every structure in the community under threat of demolition and leaving 130 people, half of whom are children, at serious risk of forcible transfer. Such orders usually precede demolitions. While distributing the orders, 178 children were prevented from entering the Rubber Tire school.
Many threatened structures were built as part of humanitarian programmes funded by the Italian government, including the Rubber Tire school built by the Italian NGO Vento di Terra with the support of UN Agencies and Conferenza Episcopale Italiana. Other Italian funded projects under threat include structures supporting women dairy producers, an Oxfam project.
Israel confirmed its intent to demolish the Rubber Tire School in September 2016. 178 children currently attend the school, ranging in age from 6 to 12 years old.
Khan Al Ahmar village is located in Area C of the West Bank close to Kfar Adumim settlement, east of Jerusalem, in the so-called “E1” corridor. The E1 plan, formally put on hold by Israel after protests from the international community, would see the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Kfar Adumim and Qedar settlements inside an enlarged separation wall, disconnecting Jerusalem and further dividing it from the West Bank, and separating Palestinian communities from each other.
A bill to annex the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to Israel was discussed last month by the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs, as a preliminary step towards its submission to the Israeli parliament for approval.
The UN has repeatedly warned that the imposition of the proposed ‘relocation’ of communities without their free and informed consent would amount to forcible transfer and eviction, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
As humanitarian and human rights organizations working in the area, we are calling on the Government of Italy, the EU, its Member States as well as the broader international community to take concrete steps to prevent the forcible transfer of the Khan Al Ahmar Bedouin community.
The signatory organizations asked the Government of Italy and Third States to:
- Publicly condemn and protest against the issuance of stop-work orders and demolition orders against the structures in the Khan Al Ahmar community.
- Take immediate measures to prevent the demolition of all the affected structures.
- Engage directly with the Government of Israel reiterating that the forcible transfer of the Khan Al Ahmar community is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and the seizure and destruction of humanitarian assistance is a violation of IHL.
- Impress upon the Government of Israel the immediate cessation and guarantee of non-repetition of adverse developments in Area C and East Jerusalem, including the destruction or seizure of property and educational infrastructure and forcible transfer of Palestinians within or outside of occupied territory.
- Vento di Terra
- Oxfam Italia
- AOI – Associazione ONG Italiane
- ARCS – Culture Solidali
- ASSOCIAZIONE SALAM
- COOP AL FALLAH
- Fairtrade Italia
- FORUMSAD-Forum Permanente per il Sostegno a Distanza
- Nexus Emilia Romagna
- Piattaforma Italiana ONG Mediterraneo e Medio Oriente
- Terre Des Hommes Italia