The Israeli far-right government has called on the Israeli Supreme Court to approve plans to demolish an entire Palestinian Bedouin community and forcibly transfer its residents to the town of Abu Dis, acts which human rights groups say would amount to a war crime.
The state submitted its request to the court on Sunday, September 24, asking that it authorize 46 demolition orders threatening the community of Khan al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank, saying the village should be demolished by the middle of 2018.
Another petition has also been submitted by Israeli settlers asking for the demolition of the school in the community, which was established in 2009 and serves more than 150 children between the ages of six and fifteen– some of them from neighboring communities. No date has yet been scheduled for the court to rule on the latter case.
B’Tselem Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad said, following the submission of the State’s request to the Supreme Court, that the state was asking the court to authorize a war crime: “No sanctimonious language about a ‘planning, proprietary and realistic’ alternate, or ‘time to prepare’ can erase the disgrace or hide the facts: the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar means the forcible transfer of protected persons, and forcible transfer is a war crime. Those responsible for it will bear personal criminal liability – exactly as B’Tselem stated two weeks ago, in a letter addressed to the prime minister, defense minister, justice minister, chief of staff and the head of the Civil Administration.”
According to up-to-date data, the Khan al-Ahmar community, which is located on land Israel has earmarked for settlement expansion, is home to 32 families numbering 173 persons, including 92 minors. It has a mosque and a school.