UN urges Israel not to proceed with demolition of Palestinian village in West Bank
The United Nations has expressed its deep concern at the intention of Israeli authorities to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem al-Quds, stressing that such measures are in violation of the international law.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov made the remarks in a statement on Sunday, urging Tel Aviv to stop displacing “a community of 181 people, over half of which are children.”
Earlier this month, the Israeli High Court approved plans for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar village and evacuation of its residents. It could be razed within the coming days. Israeli officials allege that Palestinian structures there have been built without the relevant building permits and pose a threat to residents because of their proximity to a highway.
Critics, on the other hand, maintain that building permits are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank and the demolition is meant to clear the way for new settlements.
Mladenov called on Israeli authorities not to proceed with the demolition and to “cease efforts to relocate Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank.”
He concluded that “such actions are contrary to international law and could undermine the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.”
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has also submitted a new complaint over the Israeli “war crime” against Khan al-Ahmar village at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The controversial decision to demolish the village, which will leave more than 35 Palestinian families displaced, also drew condemnations from abroad.
On Friday, the European Parliament passed a resolution, warning that Israel’s decision to destroy Khan al-Ahmar village would constitute a grave violation of international law and threaten peace efforts with the Palestinians.
The institution, in a 320 to 277 vote on Thursday, passed a resolution against Israel that called for monetary compensation for financial losses should Khan al-Ahmar be demolished.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands.
Emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has in recent months stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied territories in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.
The resolution, approved in December 2016, states that Israel’s establishment of “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”