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URGENT ACTION (ICAHD): Save the Khan al Ahmar School
From: 05-09-11

Protest letter request: write to Minister of Defense Ehud Barak fx +972 3 6916940/6962757

N.B.: CC to your Foreign Minister.

The Palestinian-Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar (Jerusalem periphery) is fighting for survival. The 180-strong community faces the threat of imminent displacement if the Israeli authorities demolish their homes and school as planned. This may well destroy the community, one of 20 in the area, who have become victims of creeping settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing. Write Israeli Minister of Defense Barak to demand he refrains from pursuing the demolition of the Khan al Ahmar School.

The land the community lives on has been slated for the expansion of settlements in the Maale Adumim municipal area, in the Jerusalem periphery, despite the communitys decades long presence. Israeli authorities see Khan al Ahmar and the other Palestinian-Bedouin communities in the area, more than 2,300 people in all, as a hindrance to the planned expansion of Maale Adumim, Kfar Adumim and other surrounding illegal settlements, and to the construction of the West Bank Barrier, which would de-facto annex this strategically significant area to Israel, rendering a Palestinian state unviable.

The Khan al Ahmar Jahalin School is the only school to provide primary education to children of the Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin tribe. Built in 2009 by Italian NGO Vento Di Terra (Wind of Earth) and local NGOs, the eco-friendly school, providing schooling for over 70 students, is slated for demolition.Though the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the request by neighboring settlers of Kfar Adumin and Regavim an Israeli organization dedicated to demolishing Palestinian homes to to close the school, the petition has set the clock ticking for the demolition of the school.

Such a demolition would effectively deny the children of the community their education and jeopardize their future. Ben GussIf implemented, the Israeli development plans would be the culmination of years of settlement expansion at the expense of the Palestinian-Bedouin communities. Since 1991, when large parts of the communities living areas were integrated into the expanded boundaries of Maale Adumim, Israeli policies have increased the pressure on the communities to leave their homes.

House demolitions, evictions and property confiscations, exacerbated by settler harassment and the economic effects of movement restrictions, have left these communities struggling to make ends meet and living in fear. The people of Khan al Ahmar have now exhausted all legal avenues to protect their homes and the school building from demolition.

If these are destroyed, the community will not only be plunged into deeper poverty but may very well be displaced and dispersed. ICAHD calls for an end to the occupation of the Palestinian Territory and an immediate cease of demolitions of Palestinian houses, schools and infrastructure, which cause displacement and dispossession.

ICAHD Calls for the transfer of powers and responsibilities related to the sphere of planning and zoning in the West Bank, including area C, to Palestinian jurisdiction in accordance with international law and bi-lateral agreements, so as to allow for a nondiscriminatory planning system to include community participation in all levels of the planning process. ICAHD calls for families that have been forcibly displaced to be allowed to return to their homes in safety and dignity, and be given compensation for any harm they have suffered, including the destruction of land, homes and property.

Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, will execute the demolition order in coming days, unless pressured to call it off. Write Barak urgently to demand he refrains from pursuing the demolition of the Khan al Ahmar School.Tell him of your concern for the Khan al Ahmar community fate and situation, express your opposition to the policy of house demolitions in both the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and ask him to end it immediately.

Please send urgent e-mails or faxes to:
Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Fax: +972 3 691 6940/696 2757
Salutation: Dear Minister

Please copy protests to your Foreign Minister.
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