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In photos: Khan al-Ahmar prepares for demolition after decade-long battle to remain

Israel/Palestine
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Editor’s note: A tiny Palestinian Bedouin town located in the West Bank hills outside of Jerusalem is bracing for an impending eviction to make way for plans to expand an Israeli settlement. The case reached its endpoint on Monday when the deadline ordered by Israel’s high court expired on the community of Khan al-Ahmar to vacate and demolish their own homes and an elementary school.

The ruling comes after a lengthy court battle that began in 2009, where Israel seeks to transfer the Bedouin community to a nearby reservation of apartment units adjacent to an unofficial municipal dump. For the Bedouins, the move would devastate the herding community, making it impossible to bring along their main source of income, their grazing animals.

This case has implications far beyond the 32 families who live there and the nearly 200 students who attend the school in the town. Khan al-Ahmar is situated at a midpoint between the West Bank and Israel. If the eviction moves forward, it will pave the way for a Jewish-only settlement bloc to divide the West Bank into two, rendering impossible the creation of a unified Palestinian state in the occupied territory. 

Photographer Thomas Dallal documented the demolition preparations throughout the month of September. 

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September, 18 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Khan al-Ahmar, September 10, 2018. (Photo: Thomas Dallal)

Thomas Dallal
About Thomas Dallal

Thomas Dallal is an award-winning photojournalist currently based in Haifa. His photographs have appeared in leading international newspapers and magazines thousands of times over the past 25 years, including The New York Times and Der Spiegel among many others.

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12 Responses

  1. annie
    annie
    October 6, 2018, 5:23 am

    at the end of this presentation in south africa, by award winning journalist Thomas Dallal, he talks about his father-in-law’s village, now the site of a l’oreal factory and “park” (the old olive trees from their village land), “the colonial enterprise in the west bank is a continuation of what was done in ’48”. witnessing and capturing these moments in Khan al-Ahmar, of the children especially, it must be a familiar bitter taste. like documenting his own family. probably why the photographs looks so personal. the same thing, with the whole world watching up close this time. and we let it continue.

    • gamal
      gamal
      October 6, 2018, 1:05 pm

      that was great, thanks, i miss mosques, peoples’ private rooms just aren’t the same, i spent a whole day in ahmad ibni tulun mosque, the day after saddam hussein was hung during eid, the prayers were furious and intense from people who knew they were going to face even greater hardships, the recitations beautiful, tumas dallal spoke very well, very calm now that the tide is slowly starting to turn, it will flood eventually.

      “But whenever We removed the plague from them, giving them time to make good their
      promise they would break their word. / And so We inflicted Our retribution on
      them, and caused them to drown in the sea, because they had given the lie to Our messages
      and had been heedless of them.

      / whereas unto the people who had been
      deemed utterly low, We gave as their heritage the eastern and western parts of the land that
      We had blessed.
      And thy Sustainers’ promise unto the children of Israel was fulfilled” the heights, 135-7ish

    • Emet
      Emet
      October 6, 2018, 6:26 pm

      Thanks Annie. I’m impressed with how many women there are in the video and in the Mosque. Also, somebody forgot to tell Thomas that the site that now has the Aksa mosque was holiest to Jews long before it was holy to Muslims.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 6, 2018, 8:50 pm

        It was holy to worshippers of Jupiter and, briefly, to Christians as well. That might have rinsed out the Jewish holiness.

      • eljay
        eljay
        October 6, 2018, 9:20 pm

        || Emet: … Also, somebody forgot to tell Thomas that the site that now has the Aksa mosque was holiest to Jews long before it was holy to Muslims. ||

        So what? Telling Thomas would in no way diminish the injustice and immorality of Jewish supremacism (incl. all past and on-going (war) crimes) in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of (geographic) Palestine.

      • annie
        annie
        October 7, 2018, 8:41 am

        thanks emet. impressed — like how women are welcome to pray at the western wall?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 8, 2018, 3:33 pm

        “the site of the Aksa mosque was holiest to Jews long before it was holy to Muslims.”

        Holy, Holier, Holiest! “The site” was merely “holy” to Muslims, but to Jews it’s a “holiest”.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 8, 2018, 6:41 pm

        Mooser, surely you recall that, some years ago, I demonstrated mathematically that, even though it is number one for Jews and only number three for Muslims, the total holiness for Muslims is much greater than the holiness for Jews.

        If you don’t recall that, nag until all the archives are restored.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 9, 2018, 2:58 pm

        “the total holiness for Muslims is much greater than the holiness for Jews.”

        It’s true. As you pointed out previously, the numbers tell the story.

  2. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    October 7, 2018, 1:54 am

    Roha- the holiday named Chanuka is about rededicating the temple after idol worship.

    I do not think that the Jewish connection to Jerusalem should supercede all other connections because of its antiquity or because of the special role Judaism played in the development of Christianity and Islam. On the other hand the pretense by Christians and Muslims that their new prophecies or testaments supercede the Jewish connection are a symptom of the unharmonious nature of religion, unable to hear the value of one’s own mother because “we are the superior daughter.”

    There was a tension involved in traditional Judaism regarding relegating Jerusalem and the land to some far off utopian future. When modernism came and erasing the Jewish identity did not appear possible the combination of need and history inevitably led to a movement focused on Jerusalem and the land. In the west in 2018 erasing Jewish identity is entirely within the free choice of most Jews, and as such the particular moment when such an erasure was not possible with its historical consequences seems anachronistic, but circumstances have led us to this point in time and the radical change in the west vis a vis the Jews is remarkable and to deny the radical nature of that change is to add further evidence of the western tendency towards amnesia.

    The zero sum nature of the game as currently played, says “it’s mine and not yours.” The dynamics of the situation point to a few causes at the root of this attitude and there is little to indicate that this dynamic will turn around anytime soon without some external cause. As such comments about the antiquity of one religion compared to another adorn (or confuse) the politics with religious references.

    To nonbelievers or to disbelievers discussions of religion are a sport that has earned its mockery. In general my thought has tended away from the beliefs of my upbringing, but the continued role of belief in the land of conflict, Israel vs. Palestine, reminds me that whatever religious impulses still exist in me, also still exist in a part of the world that is of importance to me and as such the mockery you evince, while understandable to my skeptical side, impresses me as foreign to the zeitgeist of those who live on the land in question.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      October 8, 2018, 12:24 am

      “the holiday named Chanuka is about rededicating the temple after idol worship.”

      But the temple was not rededicated after the Temple of Jupiter was built.

      “On the other hand the pretense by Christians and Muslims that their new prophecies or testaments supercede the Jewish connection”

      I’m not sure what you mean by “pretense”. It is a basic tenet of Christianity, Islam, Babism, and Baha’i that the previous dispensations are superceded.

      “the mockery you evince … impresses me as foreign to the zeitgeist of those who live on the land in question”

      It is, but so what? You surely cannot be suggesting that Emet is not deserving of mockery.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      October 8, 2018, 3:52 pm

      ” In the west in 2018 erasing Jewish identity is entirely within the free choice of most Jews,”

      And so is retaining their Jewish identity, and changing or adapting it in any way they like, too.

      And funny, that “free choice of most Jews” doesn’t apply to Israel, does it?

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