With Israeli authorities’ demolition of Palestinian village Khan Al-Ahmar imminent, after an October 1 deadline ran out, Amnesty International has declared that the destruction of the community in the occupied West Bank would constitute a “war crime”.
“Today’s planned demolition by Israeli forces of a West Bank village and the forcible transfer of its residents to make way for illegal Jewish settlements is a war crime”, Monday’s statement began, with some 180 residents facing expulsion by the Israeli army.
The planned expulsion has been endorsed twice by Israel’s Supreme Court, “following desperate appeal by residents”, including a demolition order for “the village’s school”.
The village is slated for destruction on the basis that it “was built without relevant building permits”, however, as Amnesty noted, “these are impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank known as Area C”.
“Israel’s policies of settling Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, wantonly destroying property and forcibly transferring Palestinians living under occupation, violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes listed in the statute of the International Criminal Court.”
According to Amnesty, “since 1967, Israel has forcibly evicted and displaced entire communities and demolished more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures.”
Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said: “This act is not only heartless and discriminatory, it is illegal”.
“After nearly a decade of trying to fight the injustice of this demolition, the residents of Khan Al-Ahmar now approach the devastating day when they will see their home of generations torn down before their eyes.”
“The forcible transfer of the Khan Al-Ahmar community amounts to a war crime. Israel must end its policy of destroying Palestinians’ homes and livelihoods to make way for settlements.”