Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday during a press conference that Khan al-Ahmar, the Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, will be destroyed soon.
"Khan al-Ahmar will be demolished very soon, but I am not saying when. We are prepared for it,” he said.
Earlier, the demolition was postponed for “a number of weeks” as an alternative relocation plan was being considered. Israel originally intended to relocate the Bedouin villagers near a landfill 12 km away near the Palestinian village of Abu Dis.
The village is situated a few kilometers from the occupied city of East Jerusalem, between two major illegal Israeli settlements, namely Ma'ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim.
Amidst widespread resistance and condemnation, Israeli settlers in Kfar Adumim started opening sewage valves, flooding the village with sewage waters to coerce the villagers into leaving the territory.
The Jahalin Solidarity group wrote, “With the rightwing media giving December 2 as a deadline never previously mentioned, and Liberman stating his resignation as Minister of Defence was partly due to the fact that Al Khan al Ahmar still stands -albeit, in reality, Al Khan al Ahmar is slowly sinking in its neighbors' sewage. Which, one suspects, is 100% the intention! Evil.”
The residents of Khan al-Ahmar belong to the Jahalin tribe that lived in the Naqab or Negev desert prior to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
“We were forcefully evicted from our original lands as Bedouins in the Naqab desert by Israeli forces in 1951, and today we are forced to live in steel huts and struggle for the most basic of human rights,” Eid Khamis, a community leader of Khan al-Ahmar told Middle East Eye.
The 1993 Oslo Accords classified the village as Area C, which is under complete Israeli administrative and security control. Sixty percent of the West Bank is considered Area C.
Israel has deemed the village illegal, arguing it was built without a building permit, but human rights organizations have revealed that it is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain a permit.
The demolition order was met with widespread protests from Palestinians as well as international rights organizations with many international players urging Israel not to destroy the village.
“The issue is not that they will be demolishing my home, but that they will be closing off the road to Jerusalem; our state will disappear,” Khamis said explaining that Israel wants to close all gates to Palestine and cut the West Bank in half.
“How would you establish a Palestinian state then?” questions the leader.
Khan al-Ahmar residents are determined not to give up their village without a fight.
“If they displace us by force, we will move across the street. This is our decision - we will not go back on it. Where should we go? The only other option is the right of return, back to our lands in the Naqab,” said Khamis.
According to the community leader, the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar is a “Zionist project-larger than all of us. If Israel does not face more international pressure than this, then it will demolish the village. Israel’s right-wing media and politicians are waging a war against us. They are trying to pressure their government to demolish our village.”