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Merkel 'to cancel' Israel visit if Palestinian village evacuated

Merkel and Netanyahu will hold government-to-government meetings in Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 October, 2018

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Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly said the visit will be called off if Palestinian Bedouins are forced to leave their village which Israel is posed to demolish.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reportedly threatened to cancel her visit to Israel on Wednesday evening if the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar is evacuated by Israeli forces.

Khan al-Ahmar's 180 residents - backed by foreign activists who have gathered at the site - have been waiting for bulldozers to move in at any time after the 1 October deadline from Israel for the villagers to demolish their own homes expired.

The German leader is due to arrive in Israel late on Wednesday for government-to-government meetings between German and Israeli ministers.

Israeli Army Radio reported Merkel's office had warned Israel, however, that if the village was evacuated before the visit, she would cancel her trip.

Read more: Netanyahu's dangerous connections with Europe's far right

Israel says the encampment of corrugated shacks outside an Israeli settlement was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents a few miles away in what it says are improved conditions. 

But critics say the demolition is aimed at displacing Palestinians in favour of illegal Israeli settlement expansion. 

Israel's Supreme Court recently rejected a final appeal against the plans.

Israel has come under heavy criticism, with the United Nations, European Union and human rights groups urging Israel not to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, citing the serious impact on the community and prospects for peace. 

Last month, Amnesty International accused Israel of committing a war crime by approving the demolition of the impoverished village.

Merkel will meet with the Israeli prime minister and is expected to express opposition to sanctions on Iran, of which Binyamin Netanyahu has been a vocal proponent.

The German chancellor has also lamented the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and wants to preserve it.

On Thursday, she will receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa University at a festive ceremony to be held at the Israel Museum, followed by a meeting with President Rivlin, after which she will hold a separate meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu followed by a joint press conference.

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