The struggle for survival of the Bedouin village Khan el Ahmar – a community to be destroyed any time by Israeli bulldozers rolling in – is a national focus point for all that are every day organizing and resisting to stop Israel’s ongoing Nakba, the 70 years long ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from their homes. To build strength and steadfastness together with the Bedouin community, on Saturday night, activists from across the West Bank came to Khan el Ahmar in solidarity.
Just after yet another powerful protest for PA policies that support and not burden the Palestinian people in struggle in the center of Ramallah, around 200 representatives of the popular committees of the Stop the Wall Campaign came to Khan al Ahmar to discuss plans for action and to celebrate a night of steadfastness.
Khan el Ahmar is a Palestinian Bedouin village of some 40 families belonging to the Jahalin tribe. They have been ethnically cleansed from their homes in the Naqab in 1951 and then resettled in the hills East of Jerusalem. They leased the land that they now live on from the Palestinian landowner in Anata. After the occupation of the West Bank, Israel confiscated the land and then allocated it for the establishment of the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. Today, the community is squeezed between the Israeli settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim.
Since years, Khan el Ahmar is resisting a second expulsion – this time from their current location – by Israeli authorities. They have seen their homes destroyed several times and rebuilt them over and over again, determined not to become refugees a second time.
Now, the occupation forces are gearing up to another onslaught on the people. On May 2, the Israeli courts, predictably, ruled in what is a final verdict for the destruction of Khan el Ahmar. Bulldozers may arrive any time.
The Stop the Wall Campaign says:
“This meeting is part of over a decade of struggle together with the Bedouin communities. They are living on exactly those lands most coveted by Israel. Often left alone by the authorities, they are at the forefront of the Palestinian struggle and their strength and resolve to resist should be inspiration for us all.
The cynical Israeli idea to build so-called relocation areas, where people are forcibly transferred and dumped without any possibility to maintain their lives and livelihoods as shepherds is unacceptable. We have been fighting against these areas as much as against the destruction of the homes of the people.
These ‘relocation’ plans are an integral part of Israel’s systematic ethnic cleansing policies that aims to reduce us in isolated ghettos on 13% of our land. We will not let this happen!”
Israel’s single-minded determination to destroy the lives of the people in Khan al Ahmar stems from the fact that their homes are located where Israel wants to expand ‘Greater Jerusalem’ and build a line of settlements from Jerusalem towards the Dead Sea. This will effectively cut the West Bank in half and strengthen Israel’s efforts to control all lands in and around Jerusalem, expelling as many Palestinians as possible.