European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned Israel of “serious consequences” if the IDF demolishes the West Bank Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar.
“As repeatedly stressed, the consequences of a demolition of this community and the displacement of its residents, including children, against their will, would be very serious and would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace,” Mogherini said.
She spoke on Friday, two days after the High Court of Justice ruled that the IDF could evacuate the illegally built village located just off of Route 1, near the Kfar Adumim settlement.
But it said the injunction preventing such a move would remain in place for seven days. The EU and individual European nations has long opposed the demolition of the village. Many of it officials and diplomats have made repeated solidarity visits to the community.
“The European Union and its Member States have repeatedly stated their long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, including the demolitions of Palestinian communities and possible forced transfers of population,” Mogherini said.
“The community of Khan al-Ahmar is located in a sensitive location in Area C, of strategic importance for preserving the contiguity of a future Palestinian state,” she said.
Mogherini added, “The European Union calls upon the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.”
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said, “Ireland strongly supports this statement from the EU High Representative.”
B’Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad wrote to Mogherini on Friday and asked her to take steps to prevent the destruction of the village.
“The EU obviously has ample leverage to affect a concrete impact, by showing Israel that unacceptable human rights violations will have serious consequences and spelling out exactly what it stands to lose”, wrote El-Ad.
“Every day that goes by without any of the numerous tangibles Israel stands to lose being made conditional upon it ending human rights abuses against millions of Palestinians – and ending the occupation – articulates to the Israeli leadership, and to the Israeli public, that the EU accepts the current reality, and that, in fact, it is helping to sustain and advance it.”
“We are potentially less than a week away from the destruction of an entire Palestinian village. What may follow will dictate the fate of Palestinian communities all over the West Bank. If not act now, when?”
On Friday, a group of several down Israeli right-wing activists, some of whom were wearing T-shirts from the NGO Im Tirzu, attempted to enter Khan al-Ahmar. Villagers confronted them as they stood in the Route 1 underpass. Police also arrived and distance them from the village.
Right-wing Israeli activists and politicians believe the village should be relocated, they hold that its presence there is part of Palestinian Authority plan to seize hold of land in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military control.
The Palestinians believe that its evacuation is part of a plan to clear the area for the eventual construction of the E1 area of the nearby Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, a move which they hold would make a future Palestinian state unviable.
Palestinians and Bedouins, including PA officials came to Khan al-Ahmar on Friday to hold noon prayers.
The PA appointed governor of Jerusalem Adnan Gheith said "This forced displacement is created in this place under complete support of the American administration headed by (U.S. President Donald) Trump and his staff, who support the settlements and show hate and aggression towards our Palestinian people."
Reuters contributed to this report.