Bulldozers, injuries & arrests: Israeli forces prepare to demolish Khan al Ahmar (VIDEO)
Two Israelis and two Palestinians were arrested for obstructing the bulldozer in the midst of high tension over the pending demolition of the village, the Times of Israel reports. Video footage shows security forces attempting to move protesters from the oncoming bulldozers and police forming a blockade to prevent people from entering the area.
The people of Khan al Ahmar have been anticipating the destruction of their homes for years, as the Israeli state eyes a settlement expansion. It has refused to connect the village to the electricity grid, water supply or roads, and the demolition of structures is a regular occurance.
Activists from Palestine and Israel have been camping out in the village in anticipation of the razing, ever since the High Court ruled in favor of demolition in September. The plan to destroy the village has been met with criticism from the UN, EU officials and human rights groups.
Israeli authorities say the community was built without a permit, but those objecting point to the difficulty in acquiring construction permits. Khan al Ahmar is home to the Bedouin Jahalin tribe which was moved from its original home in the Negev desert by the military in the 1950s.
Local residents have been offered to be relocated to land next to a rubbish dump, a suggestion they rejected. A previous suggestion was a site next to a sewage treatment facility.
A number of bulldozers arrived at the town on Monday, some there to drain a sewage leak and others to prepare to build roads, the Times of Israel reports.
Locals and activists have accused settlers in the nearby Kfar Adumim of purposely allowing sewage to leak down to the village. It is the second time such a flood has occurred this month. The mayor denied this accusation.
The impending Khan al Ahmar demolition comes as the Israel government approved a $6 million settlement expansion in Hebron, a largely Palestinian city in the West Bank where tensions between Palestinians and a group of settlers living there are high.