France Warns Israel: Demolishing West Bank Bedouin Village Would Break International Law

France urges Israel to halt the demolition, saying Khan al-Ahmar is located in an area 'of strategic importance to the two-state solution'

Schoolgirls walk in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, May 15, 2017.
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France condemned Israel's plan to demolish the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar and evacuate its residents, saying such actions would violate international human rights law.

In a statement published by the French Embassy in Tel Aviv Monday, France called on Israel to halt plans to demolish the village, which is home to the Jahalin tribe, and to refrain from expanding settlements in the West Bank.

"These demolition orders pose an imminent threat to an already extremely vulnerable Palestinian community located in a zone of strategic importance to the two-state solution and the contiguity of a future Palestinian state," the statement said.

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"The demolition of infrastructure in the West Bank, resulting in the eviction and the forcible transfer of populations, goes against international humanitarian law, and in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention," the statement said.

Last week, the High Court of Justice approved the demolition of the village, which is home to some 200 members of the Jahalin tribe. Khan al-Ahmar is located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under complete Israeli civil and military control.

The court ruled that the village's structures were built illegally and that, despite the residents' opposition, no reason exists for the court to intervene in Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's decision to demolish them.

In August, Lieberman announced that his ministry was preparing to remove the residents from Khan al-Ahmar and Sussia after all requests by the villages for a master plan and building permits where they had lived for decades were turned down. Over the past decade, both communities have become the flagship of the fight against the removal of Palestinians from Area C.