by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
IDF declares area a closed military zone after removing shacks built by Palestinian protesters near Khan al-Ahmar, but leaves the Bedouin village itself intact
Israeli security forces on Thursday dismantled several shacks built by Palestinian protesters near Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in the West Bank slated by Israel for demolition. The IDF also declared the area a restricted military zone.
Witnesses said Israeli forces arrived at the village before sunrise on Thursday and began taking down the newly built protest huts, without touching the Bedouin encampment, the fate of which has become a focus of Palestinian protests and international concern.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon posted a statement on Twitter, saying, "This morning, enforcement was carried out against 5 movable structures that were illegally transported & installed in the vicinity of Kfar Adumim. The erection of these structures was advanced by representatives of the PA [Palestinian Authority] in opposition to the enforcement of Israeli law in Area C."
Khan al-Ahmar is located off a highway that runs through the West Bank from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea.
Israel's plan to demolish the village and relocate its 180 to a site 12 kilometers (7 miles) away has drawn criticism from Palestinians and some European states, who cite the impact on the community and prospects for peace.
The court said it was not presented with evidence to warrant overturning the previous verdict and there was no question over the illegality of the construction on the site.
The Palestinians claim the demolition is part of an Israeli push to create an arc of settlements that would effectively cut off east Jerusalem from the West Bank, territories Israel seized in the 1967 Six-Day War and the Palestinians seek for an independent state.
Last week, Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected petitions to prevent the move, siding with the authorities who say the village was built without required permits. Palestinians say such documents are impossible to obtain.
The five new huts removed by the Israelis early on Thursday had been built this week by activists from several rights groups and the Palestinian Authority in support of the Bedouin community.
Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
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