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The Israeli High Court has permitted the destruction of the Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar. Palestinians and rights group have condemned this decision that will bulldoze the homes of 180 people, including a school that educates many children in the surrounding area of the occupied West Bank. Settlers have slowly been expanding Israel’s borders in occupied areas, decimating villages and displacing many Palestinians. According to Al Jazeera, the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar is part of a project that is creating a buffer zone of Israeli settlements to separate the West Bank for East Jerusalem. Israeli began illegally razing Khan al-Ahmar in July but following the court’s decision complete destruction is now permitted based on Israel’s national standards. Palestinian opposition has attempted to counter the proliferation of settlements within the Israeli judicial system with little luck. Critics hope that international organizations will respond citing international law, but historically no action has been taken to stop the illegal settlements.
The Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the Court’s decision of expanding into the West Bank brave, “Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated. I congratulate the Supreme Court judges for their brave decision. Nobody [is] above law. Nobody can prevent us from consolidating our sovereignty.” Hagai El-Ad, the director of an Israeli rights group, B’Tselem disagreed dubbing the decision to be outrageous, “This decision only demonstrates the Israeli High Court is working not in the service of justice but is simply working in the service of the occupation,” he continues, “This is yet another example where we can see that the occupied people cannot find justice in the courts of the occupiers.” El-Ad believes the implementation of the settlement is a war crime. The Palestinian released a statement saying, “This illegal decision uncovers the colonial DNA of Israel’s institutions that work to confiscate Palestinian lands … effectively alienating it from the West Bank and killing any hopes for a future contiguous Palestinian state.” This move significantly increases tension between Israeli and Arab people, which has already been a fragile and difficult situation.
The international community must respond to the continuous infringement on Palestinian rights and the illegal construction of Israeli settlements. The United Nations and the Western world claims to value the priority of human rights but have actively avoided substantial support for those oppressed in occupied Palestinian land. If the United Nations aims to remain a notable organization for the international community, they need to take stronger action than just condemnations of constant immoral and illegal decisions stemming from the Israeli government.
The proliferation of Israeli settlements is not a new phenomenon. Israel began to militarily occupy Palestinian land following the 1967 Six-Day War, which was proceeded by the expansion of settlements that are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israeli settlers justify their actions by citing the Old Testament claiming that certain areas resided by Palestinian’s impede on their ancestors land, which is their birthright. Although settlements have been dismantled after pressure from the international community, Israeli continues to encourage the destruction of Palestinian villages to be replaced by settlements. Despite condemnations from the United Nations, the settlements continue to be built in the West Bank at the expense of Palestinian’s.
The destruction of Khan al-Ahmar affects more than just the 180-residents that will be evicted from their homes and displaced in occupied West Bank. Young Palestinians in surrounding areas will be unable to pursue and education following the destruction of the school in the village that services many villages around Khan al-Ahmar. Until the world responds to Israeli injustices, stories like this will continue to plague the news and ruin the lives of those unable to defend themselves.