Clashes as Residents of West Bank Bedouin Village Warned of Impending Demolition

Red Crescent report dozens Palestinians wounded, four evacuated to hospital ■ The expulsion of several dozen Bedouin families from Khan al-Ahmar is seen as enabling future expansion of the settlement of Kfar Adumim

Yotam Berger
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Demonstrators scuffle with Israeli police in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP
Yotam Berger

Eleven people were arrested after throwing stones Wednesday in a West Bank Bedouin village slated for demolition. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded, according to the Red Crescent. Four were taken to the hospital, and three police officers were lightly wounded, one of whom received medical care on the scene.

Representatives of Israel's Civil Administration hung notices around Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank on Tuesday evening, warning the village's inhabitants of their impending expulsion. By Wednesday morning there were bulldozers on the scene and clashes broke out.

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Joint List chairman, MK Ayman Odeh, responded to the eviction, calling it a "war crime which will leave entire families without a roof over their heads. People already evicted twice by the state, struggling now for their home and their school which gives them hope."

This is not only a human injustice, Odeh said, but a political maneuver by the government to sever and dismantle the Arab settlements in C areas, and to expand the Israeli settlement blocs, "thus preventing any chance for a Palestinian state and peace."

On Wednesday, demonstrators at Khan al-Ahmar clashed with Israeli police during a protest against the evictions. The whole village is slated for demolition, on the grounds that the homes were built without permits. The expulsion of several dozen Bedouin families from Khan al-Ahmar is seen as enabling future expansion of the settlement of Kfar Adumim.

The notes announcing the imminent eviction do not provide a certain timeline for intervention by authorities, though sources in the defense establishment told Haaretz that it could happen in weeks, or even days.

Meanwhile, the area around Khan al-Ahmar has been closed to the general public until the end of July. The Civil administration is planning to build a road to the place for the purposes of the eviction. The works are supposed to start within days and the eviction can't begin until the road is ready.

The residents are supposed to be moved to Al Jabel, a village near the Abu Dis garbage dump that the state allocated for the permanent settlement of the villagers.

Earlier this week, Civil Administration officers, accompanied by police officers, took measurements in Khan al-Ahmar and reportedly counted the flocks of sheep as part of a close inspection.

The village houses several dozen families from the Bedouin clan of Jahalin, who moved there after their expulsion from the Negev in the 1950s. They then built their homes in Khan al-Ahmar on state-owned land. Though in theory their homes could be legalized retroactively, the state declined to go down that route and offered them alternative housing in the nearby village of Al Jabel.

On May 24, following a lengthy legal campaign, Supreme Court Justices Noam Sohlberg, Anat Baron and Yael Willner allowed the state to demolish the village’s homes.