The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Tuesday that Israel's demolition of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar would endanger the prospect of a two-state solution.
The village's demolition, which is set to go ahead after a petition against it was rejected by the High Court of Justice last week, would "be a blow against the viability of the State of Palestine and against the very possibility of a two-state solution," Mogherini said at the European Parliament's plenary session on the looming demolition.
"The village is located in the so-called ‘E1’ area, which is of strategic importance for preserving the contiguity of a future Palestinian state," she noted, adding that the construction of Israeli settlements alongside the demolition of Palestinian homes "will only further entrench a one-state reality, with unequal rights for the two peoples, perpetual occupation and conflict."
Mogherini said that obtaining a two-state solution was "mainly . . . in Israel's interest" but that it was "under serious threat – more than ever before – and yet there is no realistic and viable alternative" to the conflict. "This is why the European Union does not and will not give up on a negotiated two-state solution," she noted.
Khan al-Ahmar was built on state-owned land and its houses were constructed without permits. The village was slated to be evacuated last month before the eviction of its residents was halted by the High Court to consider petitions filed by residents. In turning down the petitioners, the court also rescinded the temporary injunctions issued in July that had barred authorities from evicting residents.
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that the Palestinian leadership had petitioned the International Criminal Court in The Hague to start legal procedures against Israel over its actions regarding Khan al-Ahmar.
Erekat, who serves as the secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, clarified that the petition was not a new complaint but rather an addendum to an entire case against the Israeli settlement enterprise in the West Bank that was filed to the court on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in May.