According to local news sources, the Israeli High Court of Justice has approved a planned demolition of an entire West Bank Bedouin village, including the village’s school made out of tires.
The Israeli authorities who sanctioned the demolition Thursday have not set a timeframe for the demolition at Khan al-Ahmar village of Jordan Valley, located nearly 15 kilometers to the east of Jerusalem so the order can be implemented at any moment, the Palestine News Network has reported.
Human rights groups have warned that Israel’s decision of demolition to expand its own occupation and settlements could be considered as a war crime under international law.
Israel issued expulsion orders to residents of Khan al-Ahmar multiple times in the past year, even before the Israeli courts settled the legal proceedings.
Palestine has condemned the ‘ethnic cleansing’ decision of uprooting the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar in the Jordan Valley.
“This policy of ethnic cleansing is considered to be the worst form of racial discrimination, which has become the predominant feature of the practices and decisions of the Israeli government and its various instruments,” Palestinian president’s office said in a statement.
“The only objective of this abhorrent racist policy is to uproot the legal Palestinian citizens from their land to control it and to replace them with strange settlers.”
Palestine has also called on the United Nations and the signatories to the Geneva Conventions and other international organizations to take urgent action to prevent Israel’s decision and to protect the community from being uprooted.
Nearly a week before the Israeli court’s decision, Jamie McGoldrick, the top U.N. humanitarian official in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, visited Khan al-Ahmar and called on Israeli authorities “to respect their legal obligations, as the occupying power, including through stopping the demolition of Palestinian-owned structures and ceasing plans for the relocation of Palestinian Bedouin communities.”
On Tuesday, Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, pointed to the impossibility of the Israeli high court’s requirement that the residents of Khan al-Ahmar come up with a plan for their own displacement within a week.
“No such plans exist and the request itself is entirely unfeasible in the context of the discriminatory planning regime in Area C,” Gunness stated, noting that the residents “do not want to be compelled to relocate to an alternative site.”