May: Razing of Bedouin village would be “major blow” to two-state solution
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May: Razing of Bedouin village would be “major blow” to two-state solution

Prime Minister criticises Israel's plans to forcibly move Palestinian residents of Khan al-Ahmar

Prime Minister Theresa May has called on the Israeli government not to demolish a Bedouin village in the West Bank, because it would be “a major blow” to the two-state solution.

Israel plans to forcibly displace the 300 residents of Khan al-Ahmar, which lies near the road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, in order to make way for Jewish settlement expansion.

Her personal plea came during a widely-watched Prime Minister’s Questions, as the fate of the tribe – which has lived there since the 1950s, after being forcibly removed from the Negev – was raised by Scottish MP Alistair Carmichael.

It came a day after bulldozers entered the area, prompting May to say: “I once again call on the Israeli government not to go ahead with the demolition of the village, including its school, and displacing its residents.”

The United Nations has said the village’s demolition would constitute “a war crime” and last week the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appeared to agree.

Last month, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal on the demolition of the village, leading to a joint statement from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy calling for Israel not to go ahead with the demolition.

Middle East Minister Alistair Burt last week said the UK Government remained “gravely concerned” by proposals to demolish the Bedouin community, along with its school, which was part-funded by British taxpayers.

The village is not recognised as legal by the Israeli authority administering the West Bank. It has not been connected to power or water supplies, and European-funded structures and solar panelling have been dismantled.

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