Israel Supreme Court endorses destruction of Palestinian village
Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected appeals to raze the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank and has announced the demolition will go ahead, leaving over 170 Bedouin Palestinians, including 92 children displaced.
"We reject the petitions" against the directive to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, the Supreme Court panel said in its decree on Wednesday, adding that a temporary order preventing the razing of the village during court hearings "will be cancelled within seven days from today."
Israeli authorities are now able to decide when exactly they want to demolish the village.
The present village, which has a population of 173, including 92 children, consists mainly of makeshift structures of tin and wood, as is generally the case with Bedouin sites.
The village, which sprawls in the dust at the edge of a highway leading to the Dead Sea and is close to several major Israeli settlements, is being demolished on grounds of being built without a permit.
Activists say the villagers had little alternative but to build without Israeli construction permits, which are almost never issued to Palestinians.
In addition to them rarely being issued, applying for building permits comes with various taxes and fees that amount to tens of thousands of dollars - an unaffordable move for many Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where 27 percent live under the poverty line.
Applications for building permits are also known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".
Khan al-Ahmar is located in the 60 percent of the West Bank known as Area C, which remains under exclusive Israeli control and is home to hundreds of Israeli settlements.