ICRC “deeply concerned” over planned demolition of Khal al-Ahmar

JERUSALEM, International Committee of the Red Cross Friday expressed deep concern over Israel’s decision to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar and other structures in the West Bank’s Area C.

Head of the ICRC Mission in Jerusalem David Quesne said in a press statement: The planned demolitions will dramatically affect the lives and dignity of this community.

As long as zoning and planning policies in the West Bank fail to serve the population living under occupation, they cannot be used as justification for destruction of property, he added.

The Israeli High Court has recently issued a ruling giving the green light for the military to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, which has become a focus of Palestinian interest and international concern, and forcibly displace people there.

As the Occupying Power in the West Bank, Israel is bound by the International Humanitarian Law. It has a duty to ensure the protection, security, and welfare of the people living under occupation and to guarantee that they can live as normal a life as possible, in accordance with their own laws, culture, and traditions, the statement concluded.

Khan al-Ahmar is one of the Palestinian communities Israel is threatening with demolition and forcible transfer in Area C, which constitutes 60 percent of the occupied West Bank and falls under full Israeli military rule under the terms of the Oslo Accords.

Israeli refuses to permit virtually any Palestinian construction in Area C, forcing residents to build without obtaining rarely-granted permits to provide shelters for their families.

Many Israel urge the outright annexation of Area C into Israeli territory.

The community is also located in E1 area, east of Jerusalem, where Israel plans to expand its settlement blocs of Maaleh Adumin and Kfar Adumin and connect them to Jerusalem.

Expanding these settlements into E1 would isolate the northern and southern parts of the West Bank from one another, undermining prospects for territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state and further cutting already heavily restricted Palestinian access to Jerusalem.

In the slated demolition and expulsion proceeds, this would mark the second time the community of Khan al-Ahmar is forcibly displaced.

The families were initially expelled from the Naqab region by Israeli military in 1950s.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency