France Urges Israel to Permanently Cancel Khan Al-Ahmar Demolition
France called on the Israeli authorities on Tuesday to permanently cancel their plans to destroy the Palestinian village of Khan al Ahmar in the West Bank in light of Israel's decision to temporarily postpone the settlement's demolition.
The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “takes note of the decision by the Israeli prime minister to postpone the demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar.”
“France, in collaboration with its European partners, has repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities not to proceed with the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar and the forced evacuation of its inhabitants,” added the statement.
“We call on the Israeli authorities to permanently abandon their plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar and to remove the uncertainty surrounding the fate of this village, which is located in an area that is key to the contiguity of a future Palestinian state and therefore the viability of the two-state solution.”
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office announced that the government is holding off on demolishing Khan al-Ahmar in order to “exhaust negotiations and proposals received from various sources, including some in the past few days.”
While the cabinet approved the proposal to postpone the demolition, Netanyahu later made clear that the illegal outpost will be demolished.
"Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated, with or without agreement. It will not take weeks; it will be much shorter,” said Netanyahu. “We will make several vital preparatory moves in the international arena. We will give a last chance for evacuation by agreement but in any case Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated. I am not talking about a cosmetic evacuation but a real evacuation.”
The French ministry stressed that the village was situated in a zone that was indispensable for the future Palestinian state and, subsequently, for the implementation of the two-state solution.
The global community has repeatedly voiced its protest over Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian villages located in the West Bank in order to make way for Jewish settlements. Critics and human rights organizations argue that the demolition is part of an Israeli plan to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim and to create a region of contiguous Israeli control from Jerusalem almost to the Dead Sea.
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.
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.
France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom warned Israel in September that the destruction of the village and the displacement of its residents would have grave consequences for Israel and would hinder the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.