The case of Khan Al-Ahmar has been drawing the attention of politicians, activists and human rights defenders across the world. Israeli authorities issued a demolition order against the Bedouin village giving residents until 1 October to demolish their homes or risk having to pay authorities to demolish them.
Situated east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, Khan Al-Ahmar is home to Al-Jahhalin Bedouins who are refugees from the Negev desert. They have lived in the area since their displacement by the Israeli army in 1967. Israel has refused to recognise Al-Jahhalin Bedouin communities or grant them building permits, a strategy often used by Israel to term any Bedouin home illegal.
Activists have said plans to demolish the village pave the way for the expansion of nearby settlements Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, two illegal Jewish-only settlements situated on the Jerusalem-Jericho road.
As several days have passed since the October deadline, online activists have been using the hashtag #KhanAlAhmar in an effort to raise awareness of the “war crime” which Palestinian Bedouin are being threatened with.
The UN is among those calling on Israel “to cease demolition” which “undermine prospect for two state solution and are against international law”.
#UN has called on #Israel to cease demolition of #Palestinian property and efforts to relocate #Bedouin communities in the #WestBank. Demolitions undermine prospect for two state solution and are against international law https://t.co/kT4ext2Dma #KhanAlAhmar
— Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) September 5, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was said to have warned Israel that she would cancel her planned trip to the country if Khan Al-Ahmar was demolished. Activists were quick to condemn her remarks as only a temporary fix to an ongoing human rights issue.
#KhanAlAhmar • Netanyahu government plan to demolish the Bedouin village in West Bank is on temporary hold to avoid embarrassing the German chancellor. BUT It seems Angela Merkel is satisfied by Israel’s pretence of restraint during the visit. pic.twitter.com/vjZ824rh6B
— Palestine Project (@PalestineProjct) October 4, 2018
While others applauded Merkel’s intervention at a time when opposition figures in Israel remain silent on the issue.
On #KhanAlAhmar demolition, an issue significant enough for one @AngelaMerkeICDU, Israel's so-called "opposition" leaders @GabbayAvi @Tzipi_Livni @yairlapid are mute. Their roaring silence is so taken for granted, that @netanyahu doesn't even need bother thank them.
— Hagai El-Ad (@HagaiElAd) October 3, 2018
Amnesty International called on Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the [Occupied] Territories (COGAT) to “stop the demolition” and the other “#warcrimes”.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) September 30, 2018
Twitter user James Anderson urged the head of COGAT “to find your humanity and refuse demolition orders”.
— James Anderson (@pibroch1234) October 3, 2018
Activists from Palestine and across the world tweeted their frustration at the decision, saddened by their helplessness as Israel continues unabated with its “colonial settlement project”.
Shortly after the #Jewish high holiest of holidays, #israel is back to its immoral, ethnic cleansing. This time of #khanalAhmar Bedouin village near Jerusalem. 92 kids who live in tents and huts will be evicted to expand the colonial settlement project.
— MissingEmma (@TheGreenDan) October 3, 2018
— Omar Ghraieb🇵🇸 (@Omar_Gaza) October 3, 2018