Clashes as Israel gets set to raze West Bank Bedouin village

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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
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Israeli security forces arrest a demonstrator protesting against demolitions in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2018

Clashes as Israel gets set to raze West Bank Bedouin village

  • Heavy equipment, including at least one bulldozer, were seen around the village
  • Israeli authorities say the village and its school were built illegally and in May

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: Scuffles broke out on Wednesday between Israeli authorities and protesters who feared preparations were underway to raze a Bedouin village in a strategic part of the occupied West Bank, despite international calls for a reprieve.
Protesters, including some waving Palestinian flags, tried to block a bulldozer and scuffled with police at Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. Some climbed onto the bulldozer in protest.
Israeli police said 11 people were arrested. Israeli rights group B'Tselem said they included the organisation's own head of field research.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 35 people injured, with four taken to hospital. Police said the wounded included three officers, including one taken to hospital.
Police said stones were thrown at officers.
The incident came after activists said the Israeli military had issued a warrant to the 173 residents of Khan al-Ahmar on Tuesday, authorising soldiers to seize access roads to the village.
Heavy equipment was seen around the village on Wednesday, prompting speculation a road was being prepared to facilitate its evacuation and demolition.
"Today they are proceeding with infrastructure work to facilitate the demolition and forcible transfer of residents," Amit Gilutz, spokesman for B'Tselem, told AFP.
Israeli authorities say the village and its school were built illegally, and in May the supreme court rejected a final appeal against its demolition.
But activists say the villagers had little alternative but to build without Israeli construction permits, as the documents are almost never issued to Palestinians for building in parts of the West Bank where Israel has full control over civilian affairs.
Israel authorities say they have offered villagers an alternative site.
The village is made up mainly of makeshift structures of tin and wood, as is traditionally the case with Bedouin villages.
It is unclear when the demolition will take place.
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned the demolition plans and appealed to the international community.
"Are we coming to see one day that Israel can be held accountable?" he asked journalists in Ramallah.
"If not, it means you're pushing this region towards a deeper hole of violence and counter-violence and extremes."
Britain's minister of state for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, visited the village in May and called on the Israeli government to show restraint.
He warned that any forced relocation "could constitute forcible transfer of people as far as the United Nations is concerned."
Forcible transfer is considered a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Khan al-Ahmar is located east of Jerusalem near several major Israeli settlement blocs and close to a highway leading to the Dead Sea.
Activists are concerned continued Israeli settlement construction in the area could effectively divide the West Bank in two.
In another Bedouin village in the same region, Abu Nuwar, Israel carried out a series of demolitions Wednesday on what it described as illegally built structures.
B'Tselem said nine residential structures and three agricultural ones were demolished, leaving 62 people homeless.
The Israeli defence ministry's COGAT unit for civilian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories said the demolitions had taken place after the "owners of the buildings failed to utilise the planning procedures to their fullest extent".
"This despite the fact that they were given the opportunity to enquire in the matter and were told that if they did not, the illegal construction would be demolished," it said in a statement.


Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

Updated 14 November 2019

Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

DHAKA: One hundred and seventy-one Bangladeshi migrants are waiting to be repatriated from two detention centers in Libya after being rescued from the Mediterranean coast on Oct. 30 as they tried to make their way into Europe, officials told Arab News on Wednesday. 

In all, 200 migrants were rescued during the operation.

“The registration process of all the Bangladeshi migrants has been completed and we are expecting to start the repatriation by the end of November,” ASM Ashraful Islam, councilor at the Bangladesh embassy in Libya, said.

He added that, due to the ongoing war in Libya, airports in Tripoli remain non-operational. The Bangladeshi migrants will fly from Misrata airport, 300 kilometers away.

“There are frequent incidents of bombardment and long-range missile strikes (at Tripoli airport),” Islam explained. He said no international airline was currently willing to fly from Libya to Bangladesh, so the embassy intends to charter a flight to repatriate the migrants.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will bear the expenses for the rescued Bangladeshis, who are currently being held at detention centers in Zanzur and Abu Salim, he said, adding, “Bangladesh mission staffers in Tripoli are in constant touch with the returnees and providing necessary food and other assistance for them.”

In recent years, human traffickers have used Libya as a gateway through which to send illegal migrants to Italy and other European countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency — Frontex — around 30,000 Bangladeshi migrants have been arrested while trying to enter Europe in the last decade. The organization said that, in recent years, Bangladesh is one of the countries from which the most illegal migrants have tried to enter Europe. The IOM has facilitated the repatriation of Bangladeshi citizens from Libya in the past — 924 in 2017, 307 in 2016, and 521 in 2015.

“Among unemployed Bangladeshi fortune seekers, there is a (desire) to migrate to Europe by any means, and human-trafficking syndicates at home and abroad (have grabbed) this opportunity,” Shariful Hasan, head of the migration program at the Bangladesh-based development organization BRAC, told Arab News. “There needs to be an integrated effort by all concerned countries, with the support of Interpol, to curb this human trafficking.”