KHAN AL-AHMAR, Thursday, Ever since the Israeli High Court gave the green light for the Israeli military to demolish Khan al-Ahmar and forcefully displace its almost 200 residents in September, hundreds of Palestinian and international solidarity activists have maintained a constant presence day and night in the Bedouin hamlet.
Activists have spent the night in the courtyard of the village school, built out of tires and mud to serve several surrounding villages. The Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission has provided the infrastructure for activists’ vigil- from bus rides to blankets to meals to power-generating motors. After live broadcasts on social media, the activists sleep on mattresses and heavy blankets placed across the artificial grass-covered courtyard.
Rubin, a Dutch citizen residing in Britain, has joined the International Solidarity Movement to challenge the Israeli occupation policies against the Palestinian people. He has slept in the village almost every single night over the past three months to support the residents as they faced the immense threat of forced expulsion and displacement.
As a human being and human rights activist, I feel passionate about the Palestinian people’s struggle against the Israeli occupation, a military dictatorship that has been imposing an apartheid regime on the indigenous people, he said.
Commenting on his motivation to defend the village, he said: My primary motivation was to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and experience first-hand the situation on the ground. I was also mainly driven by the desire to learn about the Palestinian culture and customs, know more about the reality of occupation, Gaza siege, settlements, unarmed civil protestors being executed near Gaza’s border fence and children placed in Israeli imprisonment.
Rubin believes that it is only a matter of time before the apartheid regime imposed by Israel on the Palestinians would collapse.
I have had a unique experience in al-Khan al-Ahmar. I have witnessed international activists of all faiths and nationalities standing shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian landowners. Not only have I witnessed this in the hamlet village, but also in each and every peaceful protest or activity I have joined, whether in al-Tuwani, in the southern Hebron hills, Ras Karkar, Bilin, Kafr Qaddum, Bardala, al-Jaftlak and Hebron, he added.
Rubin highlighted the excessive use of force by Israeli troops in the suppression of peaceful protests.
In all these locations, Israeli forces respond to peaceful protestors in a manner contradictory to what Israel pretends and attempts to market to the world public opinion. For instance, it is a barbaric and immoral act for Israeli forces to shoot a child who hurls stones at them as a way to express his rejection of the illegal occupation of his land with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Activists and Palestinian residents barricading themselves at the site have often jumped in front of Israeli military bulldozers clearing ways ahead of the planned demolition. They were often met with extreme violence from Israeli forces.
Daniel is a Spanish activist who has shown commitment to the case of Khan al-Ahmar. He is the former head of the pro-Palestinian Asociacion Unadikum – Asociacion Maria Isabel Coronado Perez en defensa de los derechos del pueblo de Palestina y contra la ocupacion y el apartheid de Israel.
He said: Since my childhood, I was raised to love Palestine and see its flag. I am here in Khan al-Ahmar to voice my support to the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation, which violates international law and practices ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian population.
We are attempting to defend human rights in Palestine and worldwide. Our presence in Palestine is a way to support these rights and bring as many activists as possible to experience first-hand the situation on the ground and convey a true picture of what is going on, he added.
Dalia, a Spanish activist, touched upon the mainstream media bias against Palestinians and the need for distortion and manipulation-free press in the context of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli colonialism.
We have been following-up on the case of Khan al-Ahmar through alternative media. That is because mainstream media fail to cover Israeli practices against the Palestinians, including killings, home demolitions and settlement construction, and depict Palestinian resistance as terrorism. It is not fair that Israel continues to expel Palestinians from their homes all these years without being held accountable, she said.
She urged the international community to take effective steps to support Palestinians and world governments to give precedence to human rights over political and economic interests.
Italian activist, Enos, said her presence in Khan al-Ahmar is a show of support for the freedom of Palestine.
Khan al-Ahmar stands in the way of a dangerous Israeli plan to divide the West Bank and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, she said. It represents Palestinian steadfastness because its destruction poses a threat to the Palestinian state.
Philip, a French activist, said: We always hear about the two-state solution but what we see on the ground from Israeli measures and policies aim to kill this solution. This is what we saw and experienced in Khan al-Ahmar. Purging the area from is Palestinian citizens is a very dangerous matter.
Khan al-Ahmar has a become a destiny for international solidarity activists. They are against tyranny facing the Palestinian people from the Israeli occupation authority and they have come here to fight this tyranny and to stand by the oppressed people.
Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency