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Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign

Statement: #KhanalAhmar - one step towards survival as the struggle needs to escalate

Sunday October 21, the Israeli 'security' cabinet ratified the decision on a temporary freeze of the demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin community Khan al Ahmar, even if accompanied by further threats. The freeze is result of the popular steadfastness on the ground and ever growing global pressure. Israel's announcement has shown the impact we can have, but this can only be the start.

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday announced his intention to freeze the demolition of Khan al Ahmar and this has been ratified on Sunday by the core cabinet that takes Israel's strategic decisions. Without providing a clear date, the decision has now delayed destruction for 'several weeks'.  
 
Members of the cabinet and the media have been explicit in attributing this change of mind to the combination of local and international pressure. 
 
The community of Khan al Ahmar and the movements that are have organized together with the community an open-ended solidarity presence to fight Israel's ethnic cleansing plans understand this move by the Israeli government as a sign of our collective strength, on the ground and internationally. The action of global movements and organisations that have engaged parliaments, governments and institutions has been a fundamental support. The warning by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda was only one of the last interventions that highlighted the potential consequences of the destruction of Khan al Ahmar, a war crime under international law.
 
Our aim remains clear: a temporary freeze gives no respite to the people. Only a full cancellation of the demolition order can ensure the community of Khan al Ahmar can live again without the daily worry that tomorrow their homes may be reduced to rubble. We will only dismantle the solidarity tents in Khan al Ahmar once the order is fully cancelled.
 
Lowering the attention and easing the pressure after Israel's announcement of the freeze of Khan al Ahmar's demolition is a major danger to avoid. The threat is not over: in the area close to Abu Dis, that is supposed to serve as a 'relocation camp' for the people of Khan al Ahmar, Israel has already prepared a school building and basic water supply - exactly the infrastructure it bars people from accessing where they are located now. Soldiers are stationed to guard the premises in order to make sure the destruction of Khan al Ahmar and the forced displacement of the people can still happen any moment. 
 
As Stop The Wall Campaign, we want to remind all those that are currently mobilizing to save Khan al Ahmar that this community is only one of 46 communities in the region that Israel wants to destroy and one of the over 500 communities located in Area C of the occupied West Bank that Israel wants to depopulate. Israel's declared plan to ethnically cleanse the over 60% of the occupied West Bank that is classified as Area C has remained unchanged. Palestinians living in the West Bank are to be forced to move out of Area C and within the isolated and unlivable Bantustans enclosed by the apartheid Wall. This is why as Palestinians we are standing for a #WorldWithoutWalls.
 
Largely unnoticed by the public, Israel continues to demolish homes and destroy livelihoods almost at a daily basis. Last week, al Hadidiya has seen another of the uncountable home destructions in the village. In Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank, Palestinians have lost their homes and livelihoods.
 
We thank all those that have been mobilizing in support of Khan al Ahmar so far. Your support has proven crucial. Today, we call on you to continue and escalate your efforts and actions:
 
  • Continue your pressure until Israel formally cancels the demolition order of Khan al Ahmar and their community is spared, for now.
  • Raise awareness about the magnitude of Israel's systematic and planned displacement policy Khan al Ahmar is only one of many villages threatened with displacement.
  • Denounce and put pressure on the bulldozer manufacturers that continue to sell their equipment to the Israeli military, enabling and profiting from this ethnic cleansing policy. Consider building BDS campaigns targeting their complicity or including them in existing divestment campaigns.
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