About Khan al-Ahmar
Though Palestinians lived in the Khan al-Ahmar area prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, most of its residents moved there after being expelled from the Negev by the Israeli army in the early 1950’s. They leased the land from a Palestinian landowner.
In 1975, the Israeli government declared the area state land and began the construction of the nearby settlement Ma’ale Adumim.
Because it is virtually impossible for Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank to acquire building permits from the Israeli government, structures in the village are built illegally. Thus, the village has faced many demolition threats over the years and has had infrastructural improvements like solar panels confiscated or destroyed.
Nearly a decade of legal battles over the fate of the community concluded last week, when the High Court declared the village’s structures had been built illegally and gave the IDF the greenlight to demolish the village.
In the past, the State Department has helped to deter the Israeli government from carrying out major demolitions. There’s no evidence the Trump administration has intervened to stop this unprecedented demolition — despite frequent rhetoric about its commitment to peace.
However, this past November, ten US senators, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu expressing opposition to the demolition and continued West Bank settlement expansion. Just a few weeks ago, in mid-May, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) and John Yarmuth (KY-3) authored another warning to PM Netanyahu, signed by 74 of their colleagues.
Over the past few days, EU diplomats have visited the community. Italy and France have been particularly outspoken.
Why you should take action
Despite the diplomatic outcry, stopping this demolition will be difficult. But it’s crucial — for the residents of the community and for the future of the two-state solution — that the Israeli government understand American supporters of Israel are paying attention.
Khan al-Ahmar is not the only Palestinian community facing demolition. The Israeli High Court’s decision makes it easier for the Israeli government to expedite the destruction of other similar villages.