The story of Khan al-Ahmar has been told countless times in the media in recent months. The way it is being told, however, is chock full of misconceptions. Here’s the real story behind the embattled village.
By Angela Godfrey-Goldstein
The village of Khan al-Ahmar, home to 193 Palestinian Bedouins and a school, is under the very real and imminent threat of demolition and forcible displacement by Israeli authorities. Israel wants to remove Khan al-Ahmar to facilitate its “E-1” development plan, which envisions 3,910 housing units for Israelis and over 2,000 hotel rooms, and which would connect the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to East Jerusalem. The separation wall would then be built around that bloc, with Greater Jerusalem “Judaized” and the viability of a Palestinian state jeopardized.
The story of Khan al-Ahmar has been told countless times in the media in recent months as the Israeli High Court gave a green light to the demolition. The following months saw activists prepare for and fight what seemed like an imminent demolition. Then, as international pressure was ratcheted up, the Israeli government put the demolition on hold. The way that story has been told, however, is chock full of misconceptions.
Misconception 1: The High Court ordered the evacuation and demolition.
This falsity is propagated by Prime Minister Netanyahu. He stated: “This is a Court decision, this [evacuation and demolition] is our policy and it will be carried out.” Actually, the Israeli High Court stated that since the structures bear no permits they may be demolished, while leaving the decision to the state, but that the Bedouin may not be forcibly displaced, if they choose not to move.
To date, the Bedouin have rejected “offers” to be relocated next to a garbage dump, or alternatively, a sewage farm. The issue impacts not only those few Bedouins: tens of thousands of Palestinians are now threatened with demolitions in Area C of the West Bank — under full Israeli military control — which the ruling could negatively impact.
Misconception 2: The Bedouin of Khan al-Ahmar built illegally on state lands.
This frequent claim, that the Bedouin “built illegally on state lands” (since the 1950s) ignores the fact that the land is privately owned by Palestinians in Anata – a claim supported by the Israeli army which, earlier this year, issued temporary expropriation orders to those land owners for the...Read More