Progressive rabbis ‘stand united in condemning’ demolition of West Bank village

Progressive rabbis ‘stand united in condemning’ demolition of West Bank village

Senior Jewish leaders in the Reform and Liberal movement criticise Israel's plans to raze the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Rabbi Danny Rich
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Rabbi Danny Rich

British progressive Jewish leaders “stand united in condemning” Israel’s planned demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank.

Reform and Liberal Judaism’s top rabbis criticised the Jewish state’s actions, as Israeli troops razed a small part of an unlicensed village built in the West Bank.

The partial demolition of an extension comprising several houses in Khan al-Ahmar, which occurred on Thursday night according to the Ma’an news agency reported, comes after Israel’s supreme court cleared it for removal despite international protests.

In a joint statement, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, Laura Janner-Klausner and Liberal Judaism’s Senior Rabbi & Chief Executive, Danny Rich, hit out at the move, which “despite almost universal international condemnation” was still planned to go ahead.

They said on behalf of their movements: “As British Progressive Zionists, we strongly support a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine, something these actions will make even harder to achieve.”

“If the planned demolition does proceed, around 200 people will lose their homes and children will lose their school”.

They “fear this demolition will set the stage for the further expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank”, adding that it “goes against what we pray for each and every Shabbat”.

Israel’s Supreme Court last week rejected a petition by village residents to halt the demolition. An injunction against the demolition expired on Wednesday. It had authorised the demolition in May, since the homes were built without permits. The July injunction called on the state to review a compromise offer drawn up by the locals that would legalise the village.

Khan al-Ahmar

The Palestinian Authority last week filed a claim at the International Criminal Court against Israel over the demolition.On Wednesday, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Israel’s plans to demolish the entire village. The parliament “calls on the Israeli Government to put an immediate end to its policy of threats of demolition and actual eviction against the Bedouin communities living in the Negev and in Area C in the occupied West Bank,” the resolution read.

The American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute condemned the European Parliament’s “unbalanced resolution castigating Israel,” that organisation said in a statement. The text of the resolution passed with 320 votes for, 277 against, and 34 abstentions.

Despite tensions around the planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, the number of terrorist attacks against Israelis in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza decreased in August by nearly 20 percent over July, the Israel Security Agency reported.

In August, 206 attacks were recorded compared to 255 the previous month, according to the service’s monthly report on terrorist activity. Five people were injured in the attacks in August, none of them very severely.

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