Israel gives Bedouin villagers evacuation deadline | News | DW | 23.09.2018
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Israel gives Bedouin villagers evacuation deadline

Israel has told Palestinian residents of a West Bank village they have until October 1 to tear down their homes. The announcement comes after years of court battles and amid severe criticism from the EU, among others.

Israel on Sunday issued evacuation notices to residents of the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank, telling them to demolish their homes by October 1 or have Israel do it for them.

The move comes after a ruling earlier this month by Israel's High Court that the demolition can go ahead after years of litigation.

Israel's plans to demolish the village, situated east of Jerusalem and relocate its some 180 residents, have drawn criticism from Palestinians, the European Union and some European countries. Critics of the demolition say it will have a negative impact on the community and any prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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Controversial resettlement

Palestinians, in particular, say the demolition is part of a push by the Israeli government to create an arc of settlements that would effectively cut off east Jerusalem from the West Bank.

The two territories, which were taken by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War, are seen by Palestinians as the basis for an independent future state.

Residents of the village also reject Israeli resettlement proposals envisaging their relocation to a site 12 kilometers (7 miles) away as inadequate.

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Possible resistance

Village resident Faisal Abu Dahuk told the Reuters news agency that villagers were unwilling to leave.

"We will not voluntarily evacuate the place," he said. "The occupation forces that have an army and weapons can evict us by force, but there is no other place to go and we refuse to be moved anywhere else."

A spokeswoman for Cogat, the Israeli military liaison with the Palestinians, said no date had been set for demolition if houses were not taken down by the residents themselves.

Most villagers eke a bare existence by raising sheep and goats.

Israel says the village, which consists of tin and wood shacks, was built without proper permits and that its location next to a highway running from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea is a dangerous one.

 tj/jlw (dpa, Reuters)

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