As Israeli occupation forces violently repressed local and international activists, who were participating in Khan al-Ahmar’s weekly protest organized by residents of the Palestinian village resisting its imminent demolition Friday, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has issued renewed calls to supporters, companies and countries to boycott and divest from Caterpillar and Volvo for "their complicity."
Israeli forces fired tear gas and used tasers and pepper-sprayed on protesters, who had gathered in the village, just east of the occupied city of Jerusalem, local newspaper Ma’an reported and activists on the ground confirmed. Their actions have been condemned.
At least one Palestinian was detained by security forces this week.
Activist Stephon Barbour told teleSUR English that Israeli forces entered the village twice last week and violently repressed protesters, injuring at least two Palestinians, who were forced to seek medical attention, and detained another.
"They can demolish any night now," Barbour said trying to capture the sense of uncertainty the community, which on high alert, faces.
Residents of Khan al-Ahmar, a village in the occupied West Bank, have been awaiting its demolition with dread since Israel’s High Court ruled early in September that the villagers, who have lived there since the 1950s when they were driven off the Naqab (Negev) desert, had to leave the village ahead of demolition scheduled for any time after September 12.
Since then, the village has been sealed off from the main road that connects Israel’s extensive network of illegal Jewish-only settlements, and bulldozers have cleared land to build access roads as part of the pending demolition.
Amnesty International and United States-based Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), have launched a campaign highlighting "Israel's policies of settling Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, wantonly destroying property and forcibly transferring Palestinians living under occupation, violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes.”
That view of these non-governmental organizations is also shared by the European Parliament and the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who issued a statement Wednesday reminding Israel that the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar “constitutes war crimes under the Rome Statute"
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is also issuing calls for a boycott of Caterpillar after confirming the company's bulldozers are being used in the demolition.
The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, which is between the illegal Israeli settlements Ma'ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, will allow Israel to connect these with the occupied city of East Jerusalem, which Israel illegally annexed in 1967.
According to Israeli authorities, the village was built illegally. However, the United Nations has shown that it is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits, even in the West Bank. Israel has military and administrative control of over 60 percent of the occupied West Bank. Between 2010 and 2014, Israel approved only 1.5 percent of all permit requests by Palestinians.
Amnesty International and JVP have stressed that since 1967, Israel has forcibly evicted and displaced entire Palestinian communities and demolished over 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures.