Israeli Justice Minister Hits Back at European Parliament Over West Bank Village's Planned Demolition

Ayelet Shaked calls on European lawmakers to read court decision following passage of resolution calling demolition of Khan al-Ahmar a violation of international law

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks a Tel Aviv University Cyber Week conference, 2018.
Meged Gozani

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked responded Friday to the European Parliament resolution passed a day earlier, which called Israel's decision to demolish the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar and resettle its residents a breach of international humanitarian law.

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In a string of tweets, Shaked advised members of parliament to read the most recent verdict by the Israeli High Court of Justice, which deemed the government's decision to not illegal or unreasonable.

She also stated that the decision came after years of legal proceedings by the Israeli government, which "is responsible for maintaining public order in the area [of the village], which includes enforcing planning and zoning laws."

>> Khan al-Ahmar ruling gives green light for mass expulsion of Bedouin villages | Analysis

Shaked claimed Israel made great efforts to reach a negotiated solution with the village's residents in the form of a legally authorized settlement, which she says were all rejected.

"It is highly unfortunate that the residents of Khan al-Ahmar were pressured by the PA into not accepting any of the alternative solutions offered to them," the justice minister wrote.

The resolution passed Thursday by the European Parliament cited the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that that "forcible transfer of an occupied territory, unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand," is prohibited and constitutes a grave breach of international humanitarian law.

In the resolution, the parliament supported a recent statement by the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, as well as a joint statement by the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain calling on Israel to renege on evicting and demolishing the village.

Last week, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected appeals by Khan al-Ahmar residents and approved the eviction and demolition of the village.

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.