By Middle East Affairs
A British minister made one last effort to get Israel to abandon its plans of demolishing a Palestinian Bedouin village after the Israeli Supreme Court denied requests from villagers to keep the village as is.
The village of Khan Al-Ahmar in the West Bank, located close to several settlements will soon be demolished after the court made its decision last week.
The village is home to roughly 180 people and a school.
British minister of state for the Middle East, Alistair Burt visited the village and asked the Israeli government to practice restraint.
Burt said, “We are very concerned about the impact of the court case last week and the imminent demolition.”
He told Israel demolishing the village, “could constitute forcible transfer of people as far as the United Nations is concerned,” which is considered a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
The minister said that Britain was still exploring options of possible alternatives to the demolition, but stopped before making any threats to the Israeli government.
Burt will be pleading the case for the Bedouin community, “I will be wanting to seek to persuade Israeli authorities.”
The reason that the Israeli supreme court gave for the demolishment was that the village was built without building permits. However, the law prevents Palestinians to obtain such permits for Israeli controlled land in the West Bank.
Israel has given its solution to the villagers, an alternative location for them to resettle.
A spokesman for the village, Eid Abu Khamis said that over the years several Western governments have offered verbal support, but little action has been seen to stop Israel. Khamis said that he would be satisfied with action over condemnation.
The Peace Now settlement watchdog reported on Wednesday that Israel had announced 2,000 new settlement homes in the West Bank, and 90 within one kilometer of the soon to be demolished Khan Al-Ahmar.
The watchdog organization has called soon to be built settlers homes near the village “the embodiment of exploitation and evil.”
All settlements are illegal under international law.