Israel orders West Bank villagers to evacuate by October 1
Israeli authorities have ordered the residents of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank to vacate before the start of the next month as the Tel Aviv regime presses ahead with its land expropriation policies in the occupied territories irrespective of great international outcry.
Local sources, requesting anonymity, said officials from the so-called Israeli Civil Administration Higher Planning Council distributed evacuation notices among the residents of Khan al-Ahmar village on Sunday, ordering them to evacuate their homes before the set deadline.
“Pursuant to a Supreme Court ruling, residents of Khan al-Ahmar received a notice today requiring them to demolish all the structures on the site by October 1st, 2018,” a statement from the unit of Israeli ministry of military affairs overseeing civilian issues in the West Bank said.
The sources noted that Israeli forces also threatened the residents that the Israeli army would advance its plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar even if the villagers do not abide by the notices.
Village residents have vowed not to leave despite the notice.
“No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force,” said village spokesman Eid Abu Khamis, adding that a residents’ meeting would be held later on the issue.
“If the Israeli army comes to demolish, it will only be by force,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, 20 police officers stormed the sit-in tent installed in Khan al-Ahmar village, taking photos of the participants.
Abdullah Abu Rahma, who leads Save Khan al-Ahmar campaign, said in a press statement that local residents fear that such attacks fall in line with Israel’s preparations to demolish the village’s houses and school.
Earlier this month, the Israeli High Court approved plans for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar village.
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.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has submitted a new complaint over the Israeli “war crime” against Khan al-Ahmar village at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on September 11 that the dossier “included a focus on the war crimes facing Khan al-Ahmar, specifically the crimes of forcible displacement, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of civilian property.”
He added that the PLO had also asked ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to expedite a preliminary probe into other Israeli war crimes.
“We hope that an official judicial investigation can be opened as soon as possible,” Erekat noted.