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UN calls on Israel to stop expelling Jerusalem’s Bedouins

Palestinian Bedouin boys play near their makeshift huts without water and basic living necessities in Gaza on 12 February 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations yesterday warned Israel of the dangers of deporting Palestinian Bedouins from occupied East Jerusalem.

In a report issued following a visit by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick and UNRWA’s Director of Operations in the West Bank Scott Anderson to Khan Al-Ahmar, the UN said: “Nearly all of the Khan Al-Ahmar community’s structures risk demolition by the Israeli authorities, including the school, initially built with donor support that serves some 170 students from the community and four surrounding ones.”

“The humanitarian impact of home demolition is severe and long lasting. It is well documented in previous instances that the transfer of Bedouin communities into urban settings is socially and economically non-viable. The Khan al Ahmar-Abu al Helu community has repeatedly called for the provision of suitable planning solutions and services in its current location,” Anderson warned.

“We are monitoring the situation in Khan Al-Ahmar closely and are deeply concerned by what we see here and in the scores of other vulnerable Bedouin communities,” Jamie McGoldrick said.

Read: ‘I became an invader in my own land’ — a Palestinian Bedouin’s struggle

He added: “We call on the 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.”

Khan Al-Ahmar is home to 181 people, 53 per cent of whom are children and 95 per cent of whom are Palestine refugees registered with the UN agency, the report said.

“It is one of 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank that the UN considers being at risk of forcible transfer due to a coercive environment generated by Israeli practices and policies, plans to move the communities from their current locations and other reasons.”

“Eighteen of these communities, including Khan Al-Ahmar, are located in or next to an area slated in part for a settlement plan – reportedly aimed at creating a continuous built-up area between Ma’ale Adumim and East Jerusalem.”

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