Clashes Erupt as Israel Prepares to Demolish Illegal Bedouin Encampment
JNS.org – Protesters at an illegal Bedouin encampment erupted in violence against Israel soldiers on Wednesday as forces moved in to demolish the illegal building, in accordance with a Supreme Court order.
Protesters and residents of Khan al-Ahmar in the Judean Desert tried to block construction equipment from paving an access road to facilitate the demolition, and rocks were thrown at officers. No injuries or damage were reported.
The Supreme Court approved the demolition in May after years of legal battles, finding that the makeshift village was built illegally and posed a threat to residents due to its proximity to a highway.
Among the buildings to be demolished is a school that residents put together in partnership with an Italian pro-Palestinian eco-building organization using old tires, mud and used cooking oil.
Israel has pledged to resettle the estimated 180 residents near the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Abu Dis. The villagers have rejected the plan.
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said demolishing Khan al-Ahmar would be a violation of international law, adding that Israel, an “occupying power,” should “respect the rights of residents to remain on their land.” The commission has never issued statements regarding the demolition of Jewish buildings that Israel’s courts have determined are illegal.
J Street, a left-wing group in the United States that describes itself as “pro-Israel,” brought a petition against the demolition to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, decrying the move as “a major blow to prospects for a two-state solution.”
The radical left B’Tselem organization reported that Israeli security forces arrived at the Bedouin camp of Abu Nawwar near the Judean desert city of Ma’ale Adumim and demolished an additional nine houses.
The organization also reported that Israeli security forces arrived in the southern Hebron hills community of Susiya, preparing to demolish another seven illegal Bedouin buildings slated for demolition.