Israel’s forcible transfers Khan al-Ahmar are war crimes

Palestine Update  145
Opinion
Israel’s forcible transfers Khan al-Ahmar are war crimes
Picture source: Btselem
Background
A Wikipedia source offers these historical insights: The 1931 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Khan el Ahmar had a population of 27, in 3 houses. In 1945 the Arabs of Khan el Ahmar had 16,380 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.

Expelling the Bedouins
Many of the families living in Khan al-Ahmar, from the Bedouin Jahalin tribe, were expelled from the Negev in 1952 by the Israeli army. They moved to the West Bank and settled in Khan al-Ahmar which, in the late 1970s, found itself incorporated into lands that were assigned to a new Israeli settlement, which became the present-day Maale Adumim. The village was slated to be demolished by Israel in February 2010 due to allegations of illegal building. The Israeli state announced plans in September 2012 to relocate the villagers to the an-Nuway’imah area in the Jordan Valley, north of Jericho. The people of Khan al-Ahmar have opposed this plan believing this would “like a prison for us”.

Demolition threat – insecure is what Palestinians face daily
In July 2009, Italian aid organization Vento Di Terra (Wind of Earth) and other volunteers built a school in the village, using the radical tyre earth method, to address the needs of the community and the difficulty for children to access other schools within the West Bank. A demolition order was served against the school by the Civil Administration one month after it opened, on the basis that it had been built too close to Highway 1, for which expansion plans have already been approved.  (although representatives of the State have stated demolition would not be carried out until the village relocation is completed).

An entire community stands to be wiped out
Since 2009, residents of the nearby Israeli settlements have filed petitions to the calling for the Israeli military to immediately carry out the standing demolition order against 257 Palestinian structures in the area, including the Khan al-Ahmar school. A lawyer representing the Bedouin community has also petitioned to overturn the demolition order against the school. UNRWA, which operates an education program in Palestine, has also campaigned to defend the Khan al-Ahmar school, arguing that demolishing the school would “effectively deny the children of the community their education and jeopardize their future”. In 2015, Palestinian NGO Future for Palestine donated solar panels to provide the village with electricity.

International Law thrown to the winds by Israel
In July, the Civil Administration confiscated the solar panels, as well as one which had been in the village for several years. In 24.5.2018 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that, starting from June, the Israeli army can move the village to different location. This is forcible transfer and must be condemned because Forcible transfer refers to the transfer of civilian populations to other areas against their will as part of a systematic attack against that population. It is a crime against humanity punishable by the International Criminal Court. The forcible transfer of children was added to the list of acts of genocide in a UN convention. International humanitarian law prohibits the individual or mass forcible transfer of the protected population of an occupied territory regardless of the motive. Such transfer constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounts to a war crime potentially triggering the individual criminal responsibility of officials engaged in it.

Current situationImminent demolition – A video witness account
This video from Jewish Voice for Peace says it all – more or less. A narrative introduction says:
“Just when you think your heart can’t break anymore (today) a video gets emailed with an urgent plea. What does a new settlement mean? A lost school, these punished children. Why would you want to destroy a school?”
(View video: https://www.facebook.com/JewishVoiceforPeace/videos/10157456387734992/)

“Israeli Supreme Court Issues Decision to Demolish Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has condemned the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin Community, east of occupied Jerusalem, and expressed its concern over implementing this decision at any moment by Israeli forces. PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene and assume its legal and moral responsibilities to stop the implementation of this serious scheme that is in favor of the settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights investigates
According to PCHR’s investigations, on Thursday, 24 May 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court Justices Noam Solberg, ‘Anat Brown and Yael Fellner, issued a decision that allow Israel to demolish the houses of Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin Community, east of the city, and to transfer them from their houses to what is known as “Jerusalem Gate” in al-‘Izariyah village, east of the City. The demolition decision included all the Bedouin community houses, including a mosque and a school that were built of mud bricks and rubber tires.
For more on this story
See also fact sheet compiled by Rebuilding Alliance

80+ INGOs urge Israel to Halt the Demolition and Forcible Transfer of the Bedouins

A network of some 80 INGOs operating in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), calls on Israel to halt its plans to forcibly relocate this vulnerable community and to allow them to live in peace and dignity. AIDA urged the international community to demand Israel for compliance and:

  •   Publicly condemn the ruling of the High Court of Justice in the case of Khan al Ahmar,
  •   Take concrete and immediate steps to prevent its demolition and relocation and bring Israel into compliance with international law;
  • Engage directly with the Government of Israel, reiterating that the wanton destruction of that the forcible transfer of the Khan al Ahmar community would constitute a war crime.
  •  Systematically protest demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian property, and demand restitution or compensation

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.
لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.
Mahmoud Darwish.