By: Madeeha Araj/ NBDL/
The National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlements called on the International Community to exert pressure on the Israeli government, preventing it from carrying out ethnic cleansing crimes in Khan Al-Ahmar village as well as opening an official investigation in its crimes, of which is the Israeli High Court’s decision that approved the demolition of the Khan Al-Ahmar village east of Jerusalem, and emphasized that the decision of the Court is a serious violation of international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is worth mentioning here that the people of the Khan are about 7,000 Palestinians all are from the Jahalin Arabs, who were displaced by Israel from the Arad area during the 1948 Nakba. The Occupation Authorities have refused to recognize their existence and instead expelled them. They were harassed during the construction of Ma’aleh Adumim settlement. The first decision was issued by the Civil Administration to demolish all the facilities in the Khan Al-Ahmar in 2010.
In May 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court approved the demolition order. On July 4th, 2018, the Israeli occupation forces besieged the village to demolish it, the residents of the community resist the Israeli plan to deport them to Nu’aymah area near Jericho to implement the large settlement plan known as E1 that links the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement with Jerusalem. The Bedouins, who are part of Bedouin communities consist of 41 Palestinian families. They have a school known as the Itarat School built by the Italians. It was expanded with the support of the European Union, it has 180 students. Demolishing the village coincides with the anniversary of signing Oslo agreement.
Reactions on the Israeli decision were echoed as the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mujerini, called on the Israeli government to reconsider the decision to demolish the Khan Al-Ahmar village, and noted that the consequences of destroying the village and replacing it with settlements threaten the 2-state solution. “If the International Community doesn’t take action to stop the evacuating of the Khan-Al Ahmar’s people, they will face the danger of forced displacement,” said the head of Amnesty International’s Jerusalem office, Saleh Hijazi. Moreover, the United Nations envoy to the Middle East peace process, Nikolai Mladenov, considered the Israeli High Court’s decision to evacuate and demolish the Khan undermines the two-state solution as well as contradicting the international law, so he called on Israel to stop the destruction of the Palestinian property.
As for the Israeli level, Israeli War Minister, Avigdor Lieberman welcomed the decision, saying: “Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated . I bless the judges of the Israeli Supreme Court for their courageous decision. I am pleased and welcome the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court to reject the appeal of the Palestinian Authority.” Adding, he encourages the annexation of the occupied West Bank to Israel and intensification of Jewish construction in East Jerusalem.
On their part, Palestinian activists and citizens continue their sit-in strike at the Khan Al-Ahmar village in the East of Jerusalem protesting against the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court to evacuate and demolish the village, and protect the population and support their steadfastness. Whereas, the Walaja village has been targeted by settlement as scores of houses have been demolished and handing over notices to demolish others as well as seizing vast areas of citizens’ lands. The Israeli occupation authorities have issued a plan to establish a 4700 settlement units on the village lands full with antiquities and springs.
The occupation municipality in Jerusalem has also approved the construction of 75 housing units for Israelis in Beit Hanina town, east of Jerusalem, on an 11 dunum plot of land to build 8 buildings with 7 to 12 stories, construction tenders will also be announced and published at the beginning of 2019.
Moreover, Beit Aryeh settlement, built on land expropriated from Deir Balut village west of Salfit and Al-lubn al Al-Gharbye village, northwest of Ramallah, face settlement activity for the construction of hundreds of settlement apartments. The Israeli government announced its intention to approve the construction of hundreds of apartments and settlement units last week in several areas, including “Beit Aryeh” settlement. Earlier, the Minister of Housing, Yoav Galant, participated in a stone laying ceremony to build 650 units in the settlement, while Hebrew sources said that new buildings will be built inside a new neighborhood in Beit Eil settlement.
In Kiryat Arba, the Israeli government decided to establish a “heritage” center on Hebron lands, and allocated NIS 4 million to build it. It also explained that this amount is part of the funds allocated to the benefit of “UNESCO”, which stopped conversion after the occupation withdrew its membership in it.
In a “biblical” speech, the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman said that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy to it was not new, but that was made 3,000 years ago by King David. “He expressed his conviction that the Golan will remain forever under Israeli control and will not be returned to Syria, adding, I cannot imagine that the Golan Heights won’t be part of Israel.”