• Press Release

Israel’s demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and transfer of its inhabitants are war crimes

July 5, 2018

General view of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank as Israeli police claimed the village closed military area on July 5, 2018. - Khan al-Ahmar, which Israeli authorities say was illegally constructed and the supreme court in May rejected a final appeal against its demolition, is located near several Israeli settlements along a road leading to the Dead Sea. Activists are concerned continued Israeli settlement construction in the area could effectively divide the northern and southern West Bank. (Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP) (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
Israel’s forcible transfer of Palestinians from their homes and settling of Israeli civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes, Amnesty International said as it continues to monitor the fast-changing situation on the ground in the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar.

This morning Israeli security forces closed off the areas surrounding the Khan al-Ahmar community in preparation for the demolition of the entire village, including schools, farmland, a mosque and the homes of all families living in the village.

“Going ahead with the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is not only profoundly cruel; it would also amount to forcible transfer, which is a war crime. Israel must be held to account for such grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is a standard it has set for itself and demanded of other nations. The international community also has a responsibility to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions. The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar must be stopped,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International

“Israeli forces have declared Khan al-Ahmar a closed military zone, and blocked all entry into the village, even issuing fines to people who attempted to stop their cars nearby or park there. We have received reports of violent assaults against protesters and the clearing of roads to allow access for bulldozers. Local and international activists have been injured and arrested by security forces, with some briefly detained. Scores of men, women and children face the trauma of displacement and having their homes destroyed by occupying forces.”

Khan al-Ahmar is inhabited by about 180 residents from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe. Several illegal Israeli settlements surround the village located east of Jerusalem. Its destruction will make way for the expansion and connection of large settlement blocs, ultimately surrounding the entire area of East Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements and further restricting access to the city for Palestinians.

On May 24, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that Israel can destroy the entire village of Khan al-Ahmar, including its school which is constructed from rubber tires and provides education for some 170 children from five different Bedouin communities.

On July 4, Israeli forces stormed the nearby Bedouin village of Abu al-Nuwwar in the early morning, demolishing 10 Palestinian homes and structures used for the upkeep of livestock.