Urgent action needed to stop impending demolition and forcible transfer of Bedouin communities

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is gravely concerned by Israel’s recent and ongoing demolitions in Palestinian Bedouin communities in the West Bank, including in Khan Al Ahmar, Abu Nuwar and Susiya. Khan Al Ahmar and Abu Nuwar are among 12 such communities whose health and well-being is supported by visits from the MAP/ICS mobile clinic. Hundreds of people are at risk of forcible transfer.

Last week, Israel demolished eight homes in Abu Nuwar and made further preparations to demolish Khan Al Ahmar.  At Khan Al Ahmar 11 people were reportedly arrested, including a human rights monitor, and dozens were injured when residents and other activists protested against the evictions and the bulldozers entering the village.

The community’s access to healthcare has been severely obstructed. For several days, MAP’s mobile health clinic, which regularly visits 27 Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley including Khan al Ahmar and Abu Nuwar, was prevented from entering. The clinic is a lifeline for the communities in Area C, 60% of the West Bank under full civil and military control of the occupying power and in which the building of healthcare centres is prohibited.

On 5 July, members of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) had to use a sewage pipe to reach the community after Israeli forces declared Khan Al Ahmar a closed military area. They were prevented by the Israeli forces from taking any medication with them.

The MAP-supported mobile clinic was able enter the community and provide treatment to 26 people 7 July, including five people injured by Israeli forces during the protests and a two-year-old boy.  

It was reported that on Wednesday 11 July Israeli forces sealed off the entrances Khan Al Ahmar with cement blocks. Israeli forces also surrounded the school in Khan Al Ahmar, which is also regularly visited by UK MPs who travel to the West Bank with MAP and Caabu, and blocked the entrances and exits of the school.

Israel’s intention to demolish the community, and other Bedouin communities throughout the West Bank, is reportedly linked to the intention to create a continuous settlement bloc in the Jerusalem periphery, in what is known as the E1 area.

Israeli authorities state that the structures are demolished as they were erected without an Israeli building permit. However, a restrictive and discriminatory planning regime makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain such  permits.

There has been widespread international condemnation of Israel’s actions in Khan Al Ahmar, including UK MPs calling for urgent action to stop the impending demolition and forcible transfer of Palestinian Bedouin communities in Area C.  On 12 July, Israel’s Supreme Court deferred a decision on the proposed demolition and said there would for a further hearing by 15 August. Today we received a report that this could happen sooner. 

MAP continues to call on the UK government and others to take effective steps to help halt the impending demolition and forcible transfer of Bedouin communities in the West Bank. International pressure is essential to halt preventable crimes and ensure that these communities are finally allowed, not only to stay on their Palestinian land, but to develop and thrive on it too.

Keep up to date

Sign up for our newsletter to receive all the latest updates from our programmes, campaigns and fundraising appeals.