UN envoy warns against demolition of Bedouin community

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-16 20:27:10|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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RAMALLAH, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Sunday warned Israel of demolition of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin community east of Jerusalem.

"I am concerned about the intention of Israeli authorities to demolish the Bedouin village of Al-Khan A-Ahmar, a community of 181 people, over half of whom are children," said the UN envoy, urging Israeli to halt its plans "and cease efforts to relocate Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank."

He said in a press statement that "such actions are contrary to international law and could undermine the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state."

The area of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem, was put under a tight blockade by Israeli forces who controlled the access of supporters to the community.

A one-week notice was allowed by Israeli high court ahead of demolition order, after it had rejected an appeal by the residents of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin community and ruled in favor of the community's demolition after evicting its residents on Sept. 5.

Since the court ruling came out, the Palestinians have declared not to make new appeal to Israeli courts, but will sue Israel at the International Criminal Court if the village is demolished and start open solidarity movements in the community.

Over 200 homes and community structures are slated for demolition in the area, where nearly 1,400 Palestinians reside. It suffers a lack of basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity network, sewage system or proper roads.

The community includes the only school for the Bedouin community in the area, a mosque and a healthcare center as well as several homes that are all at risk of demolition by Israel without being offered a settlement place.

The community in Al-Khan Al-Ahmar is one of the 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank that the United Nations considers at risk of forcible transfer.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian side will turn to the international community including the UN General Assembly and Security Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) "with issues that Palestinians are suffering from".

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said last week that the Palestinians had raised a new submission against Israel to the ICC over the Israeli high court decision pertaining to the demolition and forcible displacement of the Palestinian community of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar.

The submission urged the ICC to speed up the opening of a judicial investigation into "Israeli war crimes" that fall within the court's jurisdiction.