Israeli Threats to Remove Palestinian Village Spark Protests

Israeli Threats to Remove Palestinian Village Spark Protests

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Dozens of Palestinians protested against Israel’s plans to forcibly relocate the Palestinian Bedouin town of Khan al-Ahmar on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem al-Quds, which is home to at least 180 people.

The protest took place on Monday after far-right politician and minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir said he would push ahead with the village’s forced removal and plans emerged of a visit to the site by far-right ministers, including Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, according to Al Jazeera.

A number of politicians from the Israeli regime parliament’s biggest party, Likud, eventually did gather near the village before later leaving.

Ben-Gvir on Saturday said the government of Benjamin Netanyahu “will not hold Jews to one legal standard and Arabs to another” after an illegal Jewish settlement outpost in the northern occupied West Bank was cleared by Israeli forces.

However, Palestinians have decried what they argue is the false equivalency between Khan al-Ahmar and Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

“Since 1967, there have been military orders for demolishing homes, closed military zones and others, and then these areas are transformed into illegal settlements and nature reserves,” Eid Jahalin, who described himself as a spokesperson for the village, said at Monday’s protest.

“Our fate is to remain in this area,” Jahalin argued. “Whoever thinks that it is just Khan al-Ahmar – there are demolitions in the Jordan Valley, demolitions in Masafer Yatta, in Jerusalem city – it is something constantly happening across all of Palestine.”

The fate of Khan al-Ahmar has captured international attention for its years-long legal battle with Israeli authorities over its survival.

The Israeli regime said the village was “built without a permit”, but it makes it extremely difficult for Palestinians to obtain building permits in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds and in what’s known as Area C, which covers more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank. Palestinians and human rights organizations say the policy is part of a larger Israeli strategy to strengthen and maintain a Jewish demographic majority in the area.

The forcible transfer of protected people in occupied territory is classified as a war crime under international law.

Amnesty International has previously called efforts to remove the residents of Khan al-Ahmar as “not only heartless and discriminatory (but also) illegal”.

“The forcible transfer of the Khan al-Ahmar community amounts to a war crime,” Amnesty said in 2018. “Israel must end its policy of destroying Palestinians’ homes and livelihoods to make way for settlements.”

Khan al-Ahmar is located in the West Bank, a few kilometers from Jerusalem al-Quds and between two major illegal Israeli settlements, Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim.

Since its occupation of the West Bank began in 1967, Israel has forcibly evicted and displaced entire communities and demolished more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures, according to Amnesty International.

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