Over 200 Palestinians at risk of forced eviction in Khan al-Ahmar

Middle East Monitor  /  January 17, 2023

Over 200 Palestinians in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Occupied Jerusalem, are at risk of losing their homes and source of living as the Israeli government prepares to implement a decision to demolish the Bedouin village in the near future.

On 29 September, the Israeli Supreme Court had approved a request filed by the pro-settlement Regavim organisation, which is headed by the head of the Religious Zionism Party and Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, demanding the Israeli Prime Minister and Minister of Defence to appear in court and explain why the government has not implemented the demolition orders issued two years ago against the village. The Court gave the government an additional period to implement the decision, which ends in February.

The Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said, within two weeks, the Israeli government will have to respond to the request submitted by the Regavim organization to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the residents of Al-Khan al-Ahmar live in a constant state of anxiety and fear that the Israeli army will implement the demolition decision and evict them from their homes.

The Bedouin village of al-Khan al-Ahmar, which is located near the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, spread over an area of 40 dunams, and includes more than 40 families living in tents and tin makeshift homes, as well as mobile caravans funded by the European Union.

In preparation for the possible forced eviction of the village residents, members of the Israeli Knesset from the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party, led by National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, organised on Sunday a tour to the area where Khan al-Ahmar residents will be relocated, amid strict security measures.

A spokesman for Khan al-Ahmar residents, Eid Khamis, said the Israeli government has begun its racist measures against the residents in preparation for displacing them from their homes within the next few days.

In an interview with Safa agency, Khamis explained that the most prominent of these measures is the Knesset members’ visit, which took place on Sunday and the escalation of settlers’ attacks against the Bedouin village.

He added that Ben Gvir and Smotrich consider the evacuation and demolition of Khan al-Ahmar a top priority in order to implement the E1 settlement plan, east of Jerusalem.

Khamis said the residents live in great fear of implementing the demolition orders, given that the far- right constitutes most of the government coalition in Israel now.

“Everyone here is apprehensive. The residents cannot sleep or rest, especially the children and women” he added.

Khamis invited European consuls, ambassadors and diplomats to visit the village of Khan al-Ahmar before the next court session, to inform them about Israeli policies against the village.

Al-Khan al-Ahmar constitutes a lifeline for all Bedouin communities in the east of Jerusalem, and if the village is seized, it will be easy to control the rest of the communities.

The Bedouin village includes one school which serves 200 male and female students from several other Bedouin communities east of Jerusalem.

The Israeli Civil Administration plans to relocate the residents of Khan al-Ahmar to a place that is nearly 300 metres away from the current location.

The implementation of the demolition process will pave the way for the implementation of the E-1 project which aims to separate the West Bank into two parts, including separating the city of Jerusalem from the West Bank.