Emergency Meeting in Jerusalem: The Struggle for Khan al-Ahmar!

Following the Supreme Court’s decision last week to allow the expulsion of the Jahalin people from their village in the occupied Palestinian territories, Khan al-Ahmar’s future is in danger. On Monday evening, June 18, activists and experts will be holding a meeting in West Jerusalem with to learn more about the evacuation and resisting it. The meeting is being organized by Imbala and will take place at 20:00 at 3 Yanai Street.

Khan al-Ahmar - Don't let it it happen

Khan al-Ahmar – Don’t let it it happen

During the meeting, a video made by residents of Khan al-Ahmar will be screened and activists who have spent time on the ground in the village will speak. Among the speakers will be Alon Cohen Lipshitz from Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights and activist Nava Bar-Shira. The meeting will focus on understanding the background of the village, the short and long-term impacts of the decision to expel its residents, the broader context of expulsions in the West Bank, and the different ways anti-occupation and peace activists can get involved in the struggle.

The Jahalin lived in the Tel Arad region of the Negev at the time of the creation of the state of Israel. In 1952, they were evicted from their traditional lands by the Israeli army and established a new village, Khan al-Ahmar, in the West Bank, then controlled by the Kingdom of Jordan. There, they took up their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, grazing livestock in the nearby area and the Jordan Valley. However, after the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, access to their grazing grounds was increasingly restricted by the Israeli military. The site of the village eventually fell within the boundaries of Maale Adumim, a large urban Israeli settlement east of Jerusalem.

Since 2009, the Jahalin tribe has been fighting against Israeli government demolition orders. Israeli and international activist have joined the Jahalin in their struggle against displacement and the EU has expressed its opposition, arguing that such actions involving forced displacement and are illegal under international law. In fact, as they are taking place in occupied territory, they are considered a war crime.

Last week, the Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit against demolition orders that was filed by village residents and parents of schoolchildren from the surrounding area. By making this decision the court has given a green light to the demolition of the village and the displacement of its residents. Currently, the homes and the village school are threatened by immediate demolition. This school is the only one serving 165 pupils from the village and its environs. It appears that the expulsion will take place some time during the coming weeks.