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The News Line: Editorial Demolition of West Bank Khan al-Ahmar village is a war crime says Amnesty! THE 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, Amnesty said yesterday.

Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, denounced Israel’s planned demolition, stressing: ‘This act is not only heartless and discriminatory, it is illegal.’

Some 180 residents of the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, face being forcibly evicted and transferred by the Israeli army. The Israeli authorities have offered the villagers a choice of two possible destinations: a site near the former Jerusalem municipal rubbish tip, close to the village of Abu Dis, or a site in the vicinity of a sewage works near the city of Jericho.

Khan al-Ahmar, home to the Jahalin Bedouin tribe, is surrounded by several illegal Israeli settlements. For more than 60 years members of the tribe have been struggling to maintain their way of life. Forced from their lands in the Negev/Naqab desert in the 1950s, they have been continually harassed and forced to resettle by Israeli governments.

Last August, Israeli Defence Minister Lieberman announced that the government would forcibly evacuate the community within several months. Israel’s Supreme Court has twice ruled in favour of demolishing the entire village following appeals by residents.
The demolition order includes the village’s school, which provides education for around 170 children from five different Bedouin communities. The Supreme Court ruled that the village was built without relevant building permits, even though these are impossible for Palestinians to obtain in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank.

Yesterday, Amnesty, alongside the Jewish Voice for Peace, launched a targeted social media campaign targeting the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories – an Israeli Defence ministry unit responsible for implementing government policy in 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,’ it said.

It added that since 1967, Israel has forcibly evicted and displaced entire communities and demolished more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures. 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, added Amnesty.

Amnesty International has stressed that the forcible transfer of the Khan al-Ahmar community ‘amounts to a war crime,’ making the Israeli government and its judges war criminals. On Monday the whole of Palestine, from Gaza to the Occupied West Bank and the Palestinian towns inside Israel, was gripped by a 24-hour general strike denouncing Israel’s racist Jewish Nation-State Law.

The Al Quds newspaper reported that Israeli forces cracked down on a rally in the northern Gaza Strip, injuring 93 protesters with live ammunition and tear gas bombs.
According to the al-Ayyam newspaper, 11 fires broke out in Israeli settlements on the periphery of Gaza as a result of incendiary balloons launched by Palestinians from the besieged coastal enclave.

The UNRWA Employees Union also began a two-day strike yesterday at the UN relief agency’s facilities in protest against imminent layoffs. The whole of Palestine is rising against Israeli oppression! The victory of the Syrian people in their war to defeat the Islamist terrorists and their western backers, in which they were supported by Hezbollah and Iran, has created the conditions for the establishment of the Palestinian state, with its capital in Jerusalem, and with all Palestinians having the right to return.

The UK trade unions must give the Palestinian people 100% support in their historic struggle. This means taking action to remove the Tory government and bring in a workers’ government that will recognise the state of Palestine, stop arming Israel, and start arming Palestine!
 
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