Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

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Israeli policemen clash with residents and supporters of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar on September 14. (AFP)
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The fate of the Palestinian Bedouin village Khan Al-Ahmar, above, has drawn international concern, with European countries calling on Israel not to move ahead with plans to demolish it. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2018
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Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

  • Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead
  • ‘No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force’

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities issued a notice to residents of a Bedouin village in a strategic spot in the occupied West Bank on Sunday informing them they have until the end of the month to leave.
The fate of Khan Al-Ahmar has drawn international concern, with European countries calling on Israel not to move ahead with plans to demolish it.
Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead.
Israel says the village was built without the proper permits, though it is extremely difficult for Palestinians to receive such permission in that part of the West Bank.
The notice given to the some 200 residents of Khan Al-Ahmar on Sunday says they have until the end of the month to demolish the village themselves.
“Pursuant to a supreme court ruling, residents of Khan Al-Ahmar received a notice today requiring them to demolish all the structures on the site by October 1st, 2018,” a statement from the Israeli defense ministry unit that oversees civilian affairs in the West Bank said.
It did not say what will happen if they refuse to do so. Village residents vowed not to leave despite the notice.
“No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force,” said village spokesman Eid Abu Khamis, adding that a residents’ meeting would be held later on the issue.
“If the Israeli army comes to demolish, it will only be by force.”
The village is located in a strategic spot east of Jerusalem, near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.
There have been warnings that continued settlement building in the area would eventually divide the West Bank in two, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.
Israeli authorities have offered alternative sites for Khan Al-Ahmar residents, but villagers say the first was near a rubbish dump and the latest close to a sewage treatment plant.


2 babies die at camp for displaced in Jordan

Many Syrians have fled to Jordan and have been placed in camp like Al-Zaatri (pictured), but Rukban camp lies inside Syria and Jordanians say the responsibility belongs to Damascus. (File/Reuters)
Updated 12 min 43 sec ago
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2 babies die at camp for displaced in Jordan

  • The deaths prompted UNICEF to reiterate calls for humanitarian access for the thousands of people at Rukban camp

AMMAN: Two babies have died of illness in the past week at a camp for displaced people on the Syrian border with Jordan, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said Thursday.

The deaths prompted UNICEF to reiterate calls for humanitarian access for the thousands of people at Rukban camp, which lies in an inhospitable stretch of desert.

“Another sad week for children and families in Rukban. Two sick babies under six months old died in Rukban,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Freezing temperatures and lack of supplies including of basic commodities, threaten the lives of nearly 45,000 people — among them many children, leaving them at the risk of disease and death,” he said in a statement.

Last month the UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent announced the first delivery of humanitarian aid at Rukban in 10 months.

Civilians trapped at the camp face the risk of starvation amid a deteriorating humanitarian situation after Jordan sealed its border following a Daesh attack on its soldiers.

Soon afterwards, the army declared Jordan’s desert regions that stretch northeast to Syria and east to Iraq “closed military zones.”

Amman believes the responsibility of the camp lies with Damascus since it is inside Syrian territory.

Syria has been embroiled in a civil war that killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.