SIR – Teresa Trainor was correct in her letter (‘Move will benefit Jahalin people,’ September 29th) in saying that Israel faced accusations over their demolition and eviction of yet another Palestinian village, Khan Al Ahmar.
The UN warned that displacing pastoral communities would have ‘serious human rights and humanitarian law consequences.’ The EU Parliament warned that destruction threatened the viability of a two-state solution and demanded compensation for EU-funded infrastructure including a school built in 2009 to the value of €315,000.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney joined with international organisations in pointing out that; ‘international humanitarian law clearly prohibits the destruction of private property and the forcible transfer of the population of an occupied territory.’ The village land, expropriated illegally under international law by Israel in 1975, was the home for 180 desperately poor herders from the Jahalin Bedouin tribe. This tribe has been pushed around by the Israeli military; from the Negev desert in 1950 and twice subsequently. The Israelis refused the community planning approval or support to provide normal settled village services.
The demolition has been resisted by residents, human rights supporters and even Rabbis for Human Rights (A Jewish organisation of Rabbis), protested against Israel’s plan to demolish the hamlet.
The demolition of the village and eviction of all residents was not done on any humanitarian grounds as claimed by Teresa, but as a long-term strategy of Israeli expansion.
Khan al-Ahmar is situated a few kilometres from East Jerusalem between two major illegal Israeli settlements, Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, which the Israeli government wants to expand uninterrupted by Palestinian villages.
The removal of the Bedouin village enables the Israeli government to cut the West Bank in two with an arc of illegal settlements. This effectively cuts off East Jerusalem, considered by Palestinians as its capital, from the rest of the occupied Palestinian West Bank region.
It should be remembered that Israel, rather than using destruction to gain Palestinian land, bears full responsibility for providing the necessary services, including education, healthcare and welfare, for the people living under its military occupation, in line with the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Most importantly such forced removals are part of the expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land and the building of a wall dividing Palestinians outside Israel from the 20% Palestinian Israeli citizens inside Israel. This divide and rule colonial style enterprise continues to make a two-state solution impossible as a viable entity and proves that it is just to confuse those who have not observed the creep of Israeli expansion without any defined borders.
To suggest that the Bedouins would have been better off moving, against their will, to a site offered by Israel was typical of those who would deny the illegality of settlements and the denial of Palestinians right to self-determination as promised long ago in the Oslo peace accord.