World News

Israel Razes 'Symbolic Village' in East Jerusalem

Israel Razes 'Symbolic Village' in East Jerusalem

Activists say Khan al-Ahmar was established without permits after the Jahalin Bedouin tribe, originally from the Negev desert, were expelled from the area by the Israeli military in the 1950's and then again from Kfar Adumim, where they leased land.

The United Nations urged Israel not to demolish the village, home to 180 Palestinians, adding that the planned move violates worldwide law.

Palestinian activists have set up five shipping containers near a Bedouin hamlet to protest the expected razing of the West Bank encampment by Israel. It has offered to resettle the residents 12 kilometers (7 miles) away under what it says are improved conditions - with connections to water, electricity and sewage treatment they now don't have.

Saeb Erekat says Israel should be held accountable for its plan on Khan al-Ahmar.

Critics say its removal is meant to make room for an Israeli settlement.

Israeli border police arrived before dawn on Thursday and dismantled the protest camp, according to witnesses.

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"Israel bears full responsibility for providing the necessary services, including education, healthcare and welfare, for the people living under its occupation, in line with the Fourth Geneva Convention", the resolution stated.

"The consequences a demolition and displacement would have on the residents of this community, including their children, as well as on the prospects of the two-state solution would be very serious", the statement said.

Israeli troops destroyed several shacks placed by protestors near the Palestinian village of Khan al Ahmar, set to be demolished, despite worldwide criticism, in the coming days.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal last week to halt the demolition. Residents of the village have opposed the state's plan to relocate them near a garbage dump belonging to the Palestinian town of Abu Dis, a suburb of Jerusalem, as well as another proposal that would have moved them to a site east of the Mitzpe Jericho settlement, near the Dead Sea. Security forces were deployed to the village and construction workers began paving an access road that would facilitate the demolition and evacuation. Palestinians say such documents are impossible to obtain.

The Israeli military later said that the prefabricated buildings had been demolished because they "had been built by representatives of the Palestinian National Authority as a gesture of protest and a challenge to the Israeli Supreme Court" after it authorized the evictions from Khan al-Ahmar.

Reuters witnesses said Israeli forces arrived at the village before sunrise on Thursday and began taking down the newly built protest huts, without touching the Bedouin encampment, the fate of which has become a focus of Palestinian protests and global concern.


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