J Street is outraged by the Israeli government’s dispatch of bulldozers today to prepare for the imminent demolition of the West Bank Palestinian community of Khan al-Ahmar. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government seems intent on using the July 4th holiday as cover to move forward with demolition plans that have been opposed by dozens of US lawmakers, hundreds of rabbis and thousands of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.
According to the Israeli human rights watchdog B’Tselem, Israeli authorities this morning arrived in the community and began to pave the way for an access road that will be used to facilitate the eviction of its residents. Haaretz reported that the area has been closed to the general public and that demolitions are expected to take place within weeks or days. Moreover, Israeli authorities carried out demolitions today in the village of Abu a-Nawar and made preparations for the imminent destruction of seven structures in the village of Susya.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government should know: Even on July 4th, Americans are watching their destructive actions in the West Bank, with deep frustration and concern for the damage they are doing to the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.
If carried out, the demolition in Khan al-Ahmar would destroy a community and displace dozens of innocent families. Beyond the devastation it would create for residents, the demolition would also strike a major blow to prospects for a two-state solution and a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians. Destroying the village would help pave the way for the settlement movement to achieve its aim of cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank — a massive obstacle to the creation of a Palestinian state in the future.
Members of Congress have repeatedly urged Israel to cancel these demolitions and halt his government’s policies of displacement and settlement expansion in the West Bank.
In May, 76 Representatives sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu warning that “The forcible eviction of Palestinian communities and the expansion of settlements in areas of the West Bank, which would become part of a future Palestinian state, abandon our two countries’ shared values of justice and respect for human rights.” That followed on a similar letter from ten US senators, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Bernie Sanders, sent in November 2017.
Through the student-led “Stop Demolitions, Build Peace” campaign, J Street continues to work to build international awareness of and opposition to West Bank demolitions and advocating for congressional leadership and action on this issue. On Monday July 2nd, we delivered to the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, 7,000 signatures opposing the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.
For more background on the situation in Khan al-Ahmar, visit our resource page.