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European Union slams Israel over expected demolition of Bedouin village

16 September 2018

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities deny most Palestinian applications for the necessary building permits in Israeli-controlled Area C, which accounts for around 60 per cent of the West Bank, forcing Palestinians to build homes and other essential infrastructure without permission and live under constant threat of demolition. Israel places severe restrictions on Palestinian development there and home demolitions are not unusual.

The European Parliament said Thursday Israel's decision to raze a Bedouin village in the West Bank constituted a grave violation of worldwide law, amid a growing global outcry over the fate of the site. It has offered to resettle the residents 12 kilometres (7 miles) away under what it says are improved conditions - with connections to water, electricity and sewage treatment they now don't have.

It was referring to the 61 percent of the West Bank where Israel exercises full civil as well as military authority.

Critics say its removal is meant to make room for an Israeli settlement.

The pre-dawn operation on the outskirts of Khan al-Ahmar raised fears among the village's 200 residents that its demolition would occur soon.

"The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and the forcible transfer of its residents would constitute a grave breach of worldwide humanitarian law", the resolution stated.

Any subsequent forcible transfer of the Khan Al-Ahmar Bedouin will constitute a war crime under Article 8 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

According to the statement, France is continuing its efforts to preserve the two-state solution in collaboration with the European Union and its close global partners.

Israeli forces have dismantled several shacks that were set up by Palestinian protesters close to the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar. The residents have rejected all alternatives offered to them.

On Wednesday, PLO Executive Committee Chairman Saeb Erekat said he had appealed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to start proceedings against Israel for its intention to evacuate the illegal Bedouin enclave.

Israel's plan to demolish the village and relocate its 180 residents - Bedouins who scrape a living by raising sheep and goats - to a site 12 km (7 miles) away, has drawn criticism from Palestinians and some European states, who cite the impact on the community and prospects for peace. Security forces were deployed to the village and construction workers began paving an access road that would facilitate the demolition and evacuation.

Israeli forces guard the access to the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, in the West Bank east of Jerusalem as Israeli police claimed the village is closed military area on July 5, 2018.

Israel's Supreme Court last week rejected a petition by village residents to halt the demolition.

European Union slams Israel over expected demolition of Bedouin village