Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Court suspends demolition Al Khan Al Ahmar


By Annelies Verbeek - July 09, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [demolition] [Bedouin] [E1] [Israeli High Court]

The Israeli High Court of Justice issued an injunction to temporarily halt the demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al Khan Al Ahmar.

The injunction was issued the night of April 5, after bulldozers had been operating in the village for two days.
 
The court had ruled May 24 that the Israeli state can demolish the entire village. But one of the village’s lawyers, Alaa Mahajna, filed a petition April 5 that compelled the court to freeze the demolition.
 
The petition argued that the villagers had unfairly been denied building permits. The state has been given until July 11 to respond.
 
The freeze on the demolition came after intense protests at the scene, which commenced after bulldozers rolled in the morning of July 4. They had come to prepare the roads to make way for evacuating the residents.
 
Seeing the demolition was approaching, Bedouin and solidarity activists tried to protest by climbing the bulldozers and chanting pro-Palestine slogans. Israeli border police officers violently attacked protestors. Videos emerged of police beating protestors, and ripping headscarves of women’s heads.
 
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 35 were wounded, five had to be hospitalised.
 
B’tselem documented that 11 Palestinians were arrested. Two of them, though Palestinians, carried Israeli ID cards and were released in the evening.
 
The nine detainees were set for release July 8.  
 
Five of the detainees were Al Khan Al Ahmar residents and were ordered to pay a 7,500 shekel (approximately 2,060 USD) cash bail.
 
Seeing as they were unable to pay this amount, they were kept in detention until a new court proceeding set for July 9.
 
The other four arrestees were released on a 1,000 shekel (approximately 276 USD) bail, and a 30 day exclusion from Al Khan Al Ahmar.
 
The community had been waiting for the Israeli authorities to demolish their homes for just over a month. The Israeli court had not given the state a date, but permission to demolish the village “when it sees fit.”
 
Since that ruling, several European states and the United Nations have called on Israel to abandon the plans for demolition. When the bulldozers arrived, international powers stepped up their pressure.
 
Officials from 12 different European countries visited the village, while the UK parliament held a discussion on the fate of Al Khan Al Ahmar. One parliamentarian, Richard Burden, called the seizure of the land of the people of Al Khan Al Al Ahmar “state sponsored theft.”
 
The UN Special coordinator for the Middle East Process condemned the demolition in a tweet, so did the European Union and France.
 
The village is particularly important because it is in an area named as “E1.”
 
E1 is slated for settlement expansion, to be united with Jerusalem in the future. Israel would expand its annexation of East Jerusalem further into the West Bank, and create a wall of settlements that would divide the West Bank in a northern and a southern part.
 
It is for this reason the villagers expressed concern when visited by journalists on July 6, the day after the injunction was issued. They saw the injunction not really as victory, but reprieve.
 
“(…) the real fact is that the Israeli occupation has targeted this village as part of its project for this area, so they are going to seize it and destroy it any way possible,” Mahmoud Abu Dahuk, 51, told Reuters.

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