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Merkel heads to Israel amid calls to halt demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

Oct. 3, 2018 3:29 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2018 2:01 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to arrive to Israel on Wednesday evening for a 24-hour visit, although no meetings were scheduled with Palestinian officials.

Merkel is due to arrive for an official visit to discuss bilateral relations between Germany and Israel.

Merkel will attend an official dinner at the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence and will be participating in a round table discussion between German and Israeli entrepreneurs, on the second day; she will be received by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin later.

However, no meetings were scheduled for Merkel to travel to the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to meet with Palestinian officials.
Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported that the German embassy in Tel Aviv said that "The visit focuses on relations with Israel and that Merkel will meet only with Israeli representatives."

Merkel is also expected to discuss the current situation in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, and Israel's planned demolition of the village during the dinner with Netanyahu.

Reportedly Khan al-Ahmar won't be demolished during Merkel's visit to avoid diplomatic tensions.

On Tuesday, children from Khan al-Ahmar demonstrated on the occasion of Merkel's visit, during which the children carried photos of the German Chancellor, requesting her to help prevent the demolition of the village.

The village is inhabited by about 181 Palestinians, 53% of whom are children and 95% of whom are refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), who are threatened with displacement from their village, as part of an Israeli plan to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim.

Additionally, the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, urged Germany and the international community to act immediately and pressure Israel against its plans to demolish the Khan al-Ahmar village.

Hamdallah made the appeal during a meeting with the new head of the German Representative Office in Ramallah and discussed increasing cooperation between the two governments.

Hamdallah called on Germany to support the recognition of the Palestinian state and full economic cooperation with the European Union.

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