Khan al-Ahmar
Khan al-Ahmar Hillel Maeir/TPS

The Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) International Relations Committee accused the United States of “inciting” Israel to demolish the illegal Bedouin outpost of Khan Al-Ahmar, Middle East Monitor reported.

A statement from the PLO, released on Wednesday and originally quoted by the Palestinian Arab Safa news agency, criticized comments by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert who, when asked about the impending demolition of the outpost, replied, “The impending evacuation of the Bedouin residence in that village follows a lengthy legal process I believe that’s gone on for eight years or so, and I’d just have to refer you back to the Government of Israel on that one.”

The PLO argued that Nauert’s comment meant the Israeli Supreme Court ruling which paved the way for the demolition of the village had been “accepted” by the US government.

The PLO committee described this as a “direct incitement” to demolish the village of Khan Al-Ahmar and expel its residents.

The committee said that this is a slap to the international will which opposes the Israeli decision, as well as a slap to German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is visiting Israel.

A report earlier this week claimed that Merkel had threatened to cancel her visit to Israel if the Khan al-Ahmar was evacuated before the visit. On Thursday morning she dismissed the report and said it was untrue.

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

Israeli courts approved the outpost’s demolition, but in July the Supreme Court froze plans to evacuate Khan al-Ahmar, pending an appeal by residents.

Israeli security forces had been preparing for the planned demolition, which was set to commence just hours before the court intervened.

Last month, however, the Supreme Court ruled against the residents, rejecting their claims and clearing the way for Khan al-Ahmar’s evacuation.

The ruling was condemned by the European Union, which 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.

Eight European countries at the United Nations, including five Security Council members, later called on Israel to reverse its decision to demolish the illegal village, warning the demolition of the village "would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution".