Israel's top court clears way for razing of Bedouin village in West Bank

Reuters , Wednesday 5 Sep 2018

Israeli occupation army
File photo: An Israeli soldier points his weapon near the scene where a Palestinian, who was shot dead, in Hebron in the occupied West Bank September 3, 2018. (Reuters photo)

Israel's top court cleared the way on Wednesday for the demolition of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank whose fate has become a focus of Palestinian protests and international concern.

The Supreme Court, in a decision released by a court spokesman, rejected petitions against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and said a temporary injunction that had put a hold on the move would lapse in a week.

Around 180 Bedouin, raising sheep and goats, live in tin and wood shacks in Khan al-Ahmar. It is outside Jerusalem between two Israeli settlements and was built without Israeli permits, which Palestinians say are impossible to obtain.

Israel said it plans to relocate the residents to an area about 12 km (seven miles) away, near the Palestinian village of Abu Dis.

But the new site is next to a landfill, and rights advocates say that a forcible transfer of the residents would violate international law applying to occupied territory.

The European Union had publicly urged Israel to cancel the evacuation plan.

Feisal Abu Dahouk, a resident of Khan Al-Ahmar called the court's ruling "a racist decision", telling Reuters by telephone "there is no place we can go".

Ayman Odeh, head of the United Arab List in Israel's parliament, said on Twitter the villagers had "fallen victim to the destructive policies of a rightist government that is broadening settlement blocs at the cost of Arab communities".

Most countries consider settlements built by Israel on land it captured in the 1967 Middle East War as illegal, and an obstacle to peace. They say they reduce and fragment the territory Palestinians seek for a viable state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online


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