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Israeli High Court seeks compromise on Khan al-Ahmar

Aug. 1, 2018 4:33 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2018 3:54 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli High Court held a hearing session on Wednesday to discuss an appeal submitted by Palestinian lawyer, Alaa Mahajna, on behalf of the Khan al-Ahmar residents, against their displacement and the demolition of their village.

A Ma'an reporter said that the judges of the Israeli High Court decided to postpone the appeal; the court allowed the defense lawyer of Khan al-Ahmar residents five days to submit written claims regarding the appeal.

During the hearing, which lasted for several hours, the judges discussed and focused on the court's original decision, issued in May, to demolish the village and displace its residents; the implementation of the decision was postponed last month by a court order after an initial appeal was submitted against Israel's planned demolition.

The Khan al-Ahmar residents, which make up 181 people, half of whom are children, opposed moving from their current location. However, Israel's plan included relocating the residents to permanent homes in the nearby Abu Dis village, in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem.

Following this, two out of three judges said that the the planned demolition could not be avoided and asked both sides to reconsider finding a third location option as a compromise.

In response, Israel made an offer of an alternative location for Khan al-Ahmar residents that would be located east of the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe in Jericho, under the condition that the residents would agree to peacefully relocate within a week.

In the meantime, the planned demolition of the village will be suspended until the next hearing.

Khan al-Ahmar has been under threat of demolition by Israeli forces; the demolition would leave more than 35 Palestinian families displaced, as part of an Israeli plan to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim.

Israel is attempting to displace the residents of Khan al-Ahmar from the area, in order to complete their illegal settlement project labeled as E1.

The Israeli government set up the contentious "E1 corridor" to link annexed occupied East Jerusalem with the enormous illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, by confiscating 12,000 dunums (2,965 acres) of Palestinian-owned lands from occupied East Jerusalem to the Dead Sea.

The Israeli authorities plan to build thousands of homes for Jewish-only settlements in E1, which would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state -- as envisaged by the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict -- almost impossible.

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