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Israel backs down on demolishing Khan Al-Ahmar


Residents of Khan Al-Ahmar look on as bulldozers prepare road

Update 24 October 2018

Israel has backed down on demolishing Khan Al-Ahmar (see here). Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has conceded that the demolition cannot go ahead for “several weeks”, which looks,like becoming a permanent postponement. The lobbying we and others have done has paid off. We will stay watchful because the situation could change, but so far it has been a victory.

15 October 2018

JJP has again lobbied to stop the Israeli Government demolishing the Khan Al-Ahmar School Community village. (We first lobbied in July. See here) The demolition would not only be a gross violation the the villagers’ human rights, but also the first step in Israel’s strategy of clearing the E1 area of the West Bank of all 12 villages there to make way for Israeli settlements. That would bisect the West Bank, making it impossible to create a viable Palestinian state.

Write to to Foreign Secretary and your MP. The more letters they get, the better.

Send your letter as an e-mail attachment. Foreign Secretary’s address; fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk. Your MP’s e-mail address is on his/her page on the Parliament UK website. Please identify yourself as a JJP signatory. Bcc. your letter to: jfjfpexecutive@gmail.com, so we know how many people have written.

You can write your own letter or work from our model letter, below.

Dear Foreign Secretary,

We are very appreciative of the efforts the government has made to prevent Israel from demolishing Kahn Al-Ahmar and evicting the residents, both in the sharp, private warning delivered with other governments in July, and the joint statement with seven other governments made at the UN on 21 September. However, as you know, the issue is still in the balance due to the Israeli High Court’s decision that the demolition can proceed.

We have read press comment about the Israeli Foreign Minister’s recent letter claiming that Khan Al-Ahmar is an internal Israeli matter and that other countries have no right to intervene…”. As I’m sure you well know, that is arrant nonsense. Israel is perpetrating an illegal, belligerent occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Fourth Geneva Convention applies, and States Parties to the Convention have every right to intervene to protect the indigenous population.

We now urge you to join with other countries in contacting the Israeli government again to reiterate your right to intervene under international law and your continuing objection to the demolition and eviction. You should make equally clear that you will also object to any evictions elsewhere in E1.

In order to be effective, we believe you will have to make it clear that Israel will suffer serious consequences if it proceeds, and you will have to be willing to act on that.

Yours sincerely,


activists and Khan Al-Ahmar residents block the path of Israeli bulldozers

The lobby group has already written three letters: to the US Embassy, to the German Embassy and to the embassies (including the UK Foreign Office) of the countries which have already taken part in the joint protests to Israel. Our three letters are copied below.

Munir Madyun 12 October 2018

1st Secretary, Middle East, US Embassy, London

Dear Mr. Madyun,

I am writing to you about the Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar School Community. Despite the Israeli High Court decision last month that the demolition and population transfer can proceed, the issue still appears to be in the balance due to continued strong opposition from residents and several European countries. We do not know, of course, whether the American Administration has intervened on the issue, but if it hasn’t, we urge it to do so now.

President Trump is determined to be the person to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has made what we believe are some very questionable decisions, including applying financial pressure to force the Palestinian leadership to negotiate on Israel’s terms. However, the repeated delays in presenting his plan to solve the conflict seem to indicate that he and his team have assimilated two important facts. Firstly, no conceivable Palestinian leader will give up the Palestinians’ legal rights under international law to a state based on the 1967 borders. Secondly, the present Israeli government will not voluntarily agree to that because it is intent on keeping most of Area C of the West Bank (including the very fertile Jordan Valley) and almost all of East Jerusalem.

Therefore, the integrity of the West Bank will have to be protected, against the wishes of the Israeli government. This must start with Kahn Al-Amar School Community, because it is the first step in Israel’s plan to demolish the whole Khan Al-Ahmar cluster of 12 villages in the E1 area and transfer the inhabitants elsewhere. That would allow Israel to populate E1 with Israeli settlements, effectively bisecting the West Bank and preventing the emergence of a viable Palestinian state. In order to be able to solve the conflict, President Trump has to make it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that there will be serious consequence if he proceeds with the E1 plans.

Such an intervention would be supported by international law. Israel is illegally occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Fourth Geneva Convention applies, and States Parties to the Convention have every right to intervene to protect the indigenous population. The Israeli Foreign Minister’s recent letter to a number of European countries claiming that Khan Al-Ahmar is an internal Israeli matter and that other countries have no right to intervene…”., does not change that.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur Goodman,
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer

Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London

Bedouin children arrive at school in Khan Al-Ahmar

Christina Foerster, 11 October 2018

Political Counsellor, German Embassy, London

Dear Ms. Foerster,

You may remember the e-mail and attached letter I sent you on 12 July concerning the planned demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar.

We are very appreciative of the warning given to Israel by Germany and four other countries in July that proceeding with the demolition would “trigger a reaction” from its allies, and also of the joint statement made at the UN on 21 September by Germany and seven other countries, calling on the Israeli government not to demolish the village. However, as you know, the issue is still in the balance due to the Israeli High Court;’s decision that the demolition can proceed.

We are writing to you now because we are very concerned about the remarks Chancellor Merkel was reported to have made about the Khan Al-Ahmar issue at her meeting in the Israel Museum on 4 October. +972 reported her as saying:

Time and again it was claimed that we conditioned our trip on this. We never spoke about this in government. This information came to us from Israel, that we might not travel, and that is absolutely false. This is an Israeli decision.”…Our visit has nothing to do with this,”…“One can disagree on it, about the settlement policy, and I definitely have some critical remarks to make because I believe in the two-state solution, but that is not relevant here. We are two democracies and we can exchange different political opinions, also with the prime minister.”

These remarks seem very close to saying that the issue of Kahn Al-Ahmar is Israel’s business. We hope you can reassure us that Chancellor Merkel did not mean that, and has disabused Prime Minister Netanyahu of any thought he might have that Germany will no longer object the the eviction of Kahn Al-Ahmar’s residents, or to the further evictions in E1 that would no doubt follow.

Prime Minister Netranyahu should also be reminded that Israel does not have sovereign rights in either the West Bank or East Jerusalem. That is not a political opinion. It is a fact in international law, despite the Israeli Foreign Minister’s recent letter claiming that Khan Al-Ahmar is internal” Israeli matter and that other countries have no right to intervene…”.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur Goodman,
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer

Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London

A boy tends his flocks in Khan Al-Ahmar

11 October 2018

To: Jan Bayart, Johan Berglund, Vincenzo Celeste, Christina Foerster, Luisa M. García García, Piotr Kobza, Olivier Lacroix, Genevieve McCarthy, Dieder Uilenreef,

Dear Mr. Bayart, Mr. Berglund, Mr. Celeste, Ms. Foerster, Ms. Garcia, Mr. Kobza, Mr. Lacrooix, Ms. Mccarthy, and Mr Uilenreef,

We are very appreciative of the efforts your government have made to prevent Israel from demolishing Kahn Al-Ahmar and evicting the residents, both in the sharp, private warning delivered in July and the joint statement made at the UN on 21 September. However, as you know, the issue is still in the balance due to the Israeli High Court’s decision that the demolition can proceed.

We have read press comment about the Israeli Foreign Minister’s recent letter to you claiming that Khan Al-Ahmar is an internal Israeli matter and that other countries have no right to intervene…”. As I’m sure you well know, that is arrant nonsense. Israel is perpetrating an illegal, belligerent occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Fourth Geneva Convention applies, and States Parties to the Convention have every right to intervene to protect the indigenous population.

We now urge your governments to contact the Israeli government again to reinforce your right to intervene under international law and your continuing objection to the demolition and eviction. You should make equally clear that you will also object to any evictions elsewhere in E1.

In order to be effective, we believe you will have to make it clear that Israel will suffer serious consequences if it proceeds, and you will have to be willing to enforce that threat.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur Goodman,
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer

Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London

written to the UK Foreign Office and the embassies of Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Spain Poland, France and the Netherlands

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