Saturday, December 15, 2018

Khan al-Ahmar preparing to face potential destruction


By Ary Gotlib - November 26, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
Tags: [Bedouin] [Displacement] [prisoner release]

The Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar located about 15 kilometers from Jerusalem "will be destroyed very soon," according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a press conference on November 19.   

In response to the statement, on November 23, locals from Khan al-Ahmar and the nearby area gathered along with activists, in a crowd of approximately one hundred people, to speak out against the supposed destruction of the village.
 
"They [the Israeli state] want to destroy the village school first, it's an important place for us and strategic for them," says Eid Jahalin, a Khan al-Ahmar resident.

Founded in 2009, the village school welcomes nearly 180 children from five surrounding villages.



Resigned Khan al-Ahmar resident, Eid Jahalin, claims the "school and village will be destroyed for sure.”
 
After the UN partition plan in 1947 and Nakba in 1948 which expelled around 750, 000 Palestinians from what is now named Israel, a lot of Palestinian refugees came and built small villages in the West Bank, Khan al-Ahmar is part of them.

For the Israeli state, Khan al-Ahmar is strategic because of its location between Jerusalem and Jericho.
 
"In capturing this area, there is the long-term plan to divide the West Bank into two parts, one part north of this line and one part at the south," as read in a statement given by Ella, an independent activist for Palestinian rights,  "We are here today to defeat the project to build settlements in this place. People need to stay put.”



People are aware that only strong resistance and favourable media coverage can prevent the Israeli project.
 
The Israeli government has proposed several months ago to displace the school of Khan al-Ahmar, and villagers to Abu Dis, hoping to win the approval of the people.
 
On Friday, concerned that “while journalists are busy covering the latest events in Gaza” the Israeli state would commence the destruction of the village, Eid Jahalin calls for support and attention; "now, journalists have to come back here."


“It is our land, we don’t want to live elsewhere,” Lofti (name changed) affirms.
 
Fadi Al-Khalil after serving 18 years in Israeli jail for resisting the occupation, was released on Sunday. Before returning to his village of Qusra (in the Nablus area) the ex-prisoner stoped in Khan al-Ahmar to support the people in the "difficult times that will come.”


Several media came to hear the support message of Fadi al-Khalil.
 
"Bedouins came to live here in the 1950s for two reasons: water sources and livestock space," Eid Jahalin reminded.


A few weeks ago, settlers from Kfar Adumim (the settlement east of the village) allegedly dumped sewage to Khan al-Ahmar, harming livestock.
 
“Prisoners like Fadi but also villages like Khan al-Ahmar need freedom!,” indignant Khei Ri Hannon stated, who has come from Tulkarem west of Nablus to support the cause.

“For Israel, the importance of settlements is vastly superior than people they expel,” human rights activist Ella asserted.
 
Everyone is waiting for the arrival of the bulldozers and the Israeli army in the next few days. They are prepared to struggle in a non-violent way, with their body as the only dam.

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