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EU: Israel’s planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar would be a war crime

Israel/Palestine
on 13 Comments

The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday saying Israel’s planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar would amount to a war crime, and demanded Israel compensate the EU for the demolition of EU-funded structures in the village.

The resolution, which is being hailed by activists as the harshest condemnation to come from the EU regarding Khan al-Ahmar, comes just days after Israel’s High Court gave the government the final green light to demolish the village.

It calls on Israel to cease “its policy of threats of demolition and actual eviction against the Bedouin communities” living in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel, particularly in the southern Negev desert.

Citing the Fourth Geneva Convention, the resolution warns Israeli authorities of violating the convention and committing a war crime, saying “forcible transfer of the residents of an occupied territory, unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand… and constitutes a grave breach of international humanitarian law.”

The resolution demands compensation from Israel for up to EUR 315,000 that the EU invested in the village, and called on EU leaders to ensure Israel protect vulnerable Palestinian communities living in Area C — the area of the occupied West Bank where Palestinian construction is virtually banned by Israel.

International officials have warned that the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar, which has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Israeli government for decades, would pave the way for the destruction of dozens of other communities in Area C.

While many Palestinian activists argue that through its rapid settlement expansion, Israel has effectively killed the two-state solution, the resolution “expressed concern at the impact of the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, which would further threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace.”

Khan al-Ahmar, which is home to some 200 Palestinian Bedouins, sits in the “E1 area” of the central occupied West Bank, directly in the path of the West Bank settlements — Kfar Adumim and Maale Adumim — that Israel hopes to annex and connect with occupied East Jerusalem.

If carried out, Israel’s E1 plan would virtually cut the West Bank in half, making a future contiguous Palestinian state impossible.

The High Court decision last week granted the government permission to forcibly evacuate the community any time after September 13. Activists have been traveling to the site of the village for weeks in preparation for the demolition, and have been increasing their numbers in recent days.

Earlier on Thursday morning, before dawn, dozens of armed Israeli forces arrived to the village, along with a bulldozer, and dismantled five shelters that activists had built a few days prior, on land a few hundred meters away from the site of the village.

The structures were housing activists, who hoped that the structures could be used as temporary homes for the Bedouins of Khan al-Ahmar following the demolition of the village.

The Bedouins of Khan al-Ahmar are part of the Jahalin tribe, who are native to what is now the Negev desert in southern Israel. Like some 750,000 other Palestinians, they were forcibly displaced from their homeland in 1948 when Israel was created, and moved to where they currently live.

Israel’s right wing government has argued that Khan al-Ahmar — which is primarily built out of tin structures — was constructed without nearly impossible to obtain Israeli-issued building permits on so-called “state lands,” therefore rendering it “illegal” and subject to demolition.

yumnapatel
About Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is a multimedia journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. Follow her on Twitter at @yumna_patel

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13 Responses

  1. amigo
    amigo
    September 13, 2018, 5:02 pm

    It would be nice to know how far up the EU chain of command this comes from.

    Mogherini made some comment 2 days ago but only did the usual bs about how this does not help peace talks.Hasn,t Miss Mogherini heard.The Peace talks (scam)is long over if indeed they ever they began.

    However , this is more like what is needed , if they back it up with equally strong action.

    • punterweger
      punterweger
      September 15, 2018, 2:46 pm

      The statement is a resolution of the EU Parliament and does not have binding force although it is influential. Foreign policy is largely in the hands of member countries but the foreign ministers meet as a council and try to agree on a common approach to critical issues.

  2. JWalters
    JWalters
    September 13, 2018, 7:40 pm

    Justice is now “anti-Semitic”.

  3. Marnie
    Marnie
    September 14, 2018, 12:14 am

    ‘The resolution demands compensation from Israel for up to EUR 315,000 that the EU invested in the village, and called on EU leaders to ensure Israel protect vulnerable Palestinian communities living in Area C — the area of the occupied West Bank where Palestinian construction is virtually banned by Israel.’

    Hit ’em hard in the pocketbook – the only real language spoken by this rogue state is one of currency.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      September 14, 2018, 8:37 am

      As if they would pay for their ethnic cleansing.

      • genesto
        genesto
        September 14, 2018, 12:16 pm

        As if EURO 315,000 would, in the end, make any difference anyway.

        Of course, Israel won’t pay it, unless they are forced to in order to make this problem go away. But, it’s not enough to discourage their continuing to carry out their war crimes against the Palestinians.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        September 14, 2018, 1:55 pm

        genesto: “But, it’s not enough to discourage their continuing to carry out their war crimes against the Palestinians.”

        As if that would discourage their ethnic cleansing.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        September 16, 2018, 12:08 am

        It’s not a fortune, but I think it’s a start.

        ‘As if they would pay for their ethnic cleansing.’

        So just forget about it then?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        September 16, 2018, 9:45 am

        @ Marnie

        Of course not. But don’t expect from Israel to voluntarily pay for its crimes.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      September 16, 2018, 11:01 am

      The only thing I expect israel to do is stay their course until they are forced off of it.

  4. Talkback
    Talkback
    September 14, 2018, 2:47 am

    “was constructed without nearly impossible to obtain Israeli-issued building permits on so-called “state lands,” therefore rendering it “illegal” and subject to demolition.”

    And Israel illegaly transformed it into “state land” to prepare it for racist and illegal “only for Jews” colonialization. Bear in mind that in 1945 there was only as much “state land” in Palestine as there was Jewish property.

  5. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    September 14, 2018, 7:02 am

    “expressed concern at the impact of the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, which would further threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace.”

    Ah they mean the one state + 100 Bantustans state solution. I wish they would just spit it out.

  6. Marnie
    Marnie
    September 16, 2018, 8:10 am

    The 4th Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law don’t mean a thing if they aren’t enforced or the violaters aren’t severely punished. After reading about John Bolton’s ridiculousness wrt the ICC, I have to wonder if he’s paving the way for israel to do the same thing. While barristers and others are APPALLED by Bolton, who’s going to stop him?

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