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EP delegation: 'Khan al-Ahmar demolition considered war crime'

Sept. 21, 2018 12:30 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 24, 2018 5:12 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Eight European Union members declared their opposition to Israel's planned demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, and urged Israel to reconsider its decision, on Thursday.

The eight EU members opposing Israel's demolition decision are Belgium, France, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.

Dutch Ambassador, Karel Van Oosterom, read the statement, outside the United Nations Security Council, which rebuked the Israeli High Court's decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.

"We will not give up on a negotiated two-state solution with Jerusalem as a capital" of both Israel and a new Palestinian state, the statement read, referring to the United States Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Earlier this week, a delegation of European parliamentarians for relations with Palestine, visited Khan al-Ahmar and warned that its demolition could be considered a war crime.

The EU and the rest of the international community have strongly condemned the demolition, as part of a settlement expansion plan, due to the fact that it would divide the occupied West Bank and end the possibility of a future Palestinian state with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.

Neoklis Sylikiotis, chairman of the EP delegation, said that the EP will continue to oppose the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and other Bedouin villages in the area, all facing eviction from their land and displacement.

"The forceful transfer of people under occupation is a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime."

Sylikiotis added "The delegation supports Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice and for self determination and oppose at the same time the Israeli occupation and apartheid," noting that the EU opposes settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories and supports the two-state solution.

Since July, Khan al-Ahmar has been under threat of demolition by Israeli forces; the demolition would leave more than 35 Palestinian families displaced, as part of an Israeli plan to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim.

Although international humanitarian law prohibits the demolition of the village and illegal confiscation of private property, Israeli forces continue their planned expansion by forcing evictions and violating basic human rights of the people.

Israel has been constantly trying to uproot Bedouin communities from the east of Jerusalem area to allow settlement expansion in the area, which would later turn the entire eastern part of the West Bank into a settlement zone.

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