European Union
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The European Union criticized the Israeli Supreme Court on Thursday, following the high court’s ruling yesterday rejecting a petition filed by residents of an illegal Bedouin encampment near Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, the court rejected the argument made by petitioners filing on behalf of the “Khan al-Ahmar” encampment.

“The appeal before us is the fifth round in this saga,” the three-judge panel wrote in their decision.

“In the ruing on previous appeals, we discussed the humanitarian complexities involved in the complete evacuation of the Khan al-Ahmar compound, but at the same time, there is no way to avoid carrying out the demolition orders. As difficult as an evacuation is, we can’t get around the ruling, a definitive ruling made only recently.”

The court ruled that the state may evacuate and demolish the encampment seven days after the decision was handed down.

Built in the 1990s on land belonging to the Israeli town of Kfar Adumim east of Jerusalem, Khan al-Ahmar is home to some 170 Bedouin, who have expanded the community in recent years with the aid of foreign governments.

In response to the court’s decision, on Thursday the European Union issued a statement calling on Israel not to demolish the illegal outpost.

“We have seen the reports that Israeli High Court rejected yesterday the petitions by the residents of Khan al-Ahmar and will allow the Israeli authorities to proceed with the demolition,” the statement read.

The European Union warned that by demolishing Khan al-Ahmar, Israel would undermine the “prospects for peace”, as well as the possibility of achieving a two-state solution.

“The EU and its Member States have repeatedly stated their long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, including the demolitions of Palestinian communities and (possible) forced transfers of population. The community of Khan al-Ahmar is located in a sensitive location in Area C, of strategic importance for preserving the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.”

“The consequences of a demolition of this community and the displacement of its residents, including children, against their will, would be very serious and would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace. As the HRVP has said already in July, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.”

Israeli security forces prepared for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar in July, before the court intervened, issuing a temporary reprieve for the community in order to hear the latest appeal.

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