Israel court okays demolition of West Bank village

Israel court okays demolition of West Bank village

A general view shows the main part of the Palestinian Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank on September 5, 2018. Reuters

Israel's top court on Wednesday upheld an order to raze a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, after debating petitions challenging the decision.

There has been strong international pressure on Israel to reverse its plans to raze Khan al-Ahmar, which the Israeli authorities say was built illegally.

"We reject the petitions" against the directive to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, the supreme court panel said in its ruling, adding that a temporary order preventing the razing of the village during court hearings "will be cancelled within seven days from today."

The present village consists mainly of makeshift structures of tin and wood, as is generally the case with Bedouin sites.

In May, the Supreme Court rejected a final appeal against its demolition after nine years of hearings before various tribunals.

Activists say the villagers had little alternative but to build without Israeli construction permits that are almost never issued to Palestinians in the large parts of the West Bank where Israel has full control over civil affairs.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who oversees the occupation of the West Bank, praised the judges for their decision in the face of "the coordinated hypocrisy attack by (Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas) Abu Mazen, the left and European states."

"Nobody is above the law, nobody will keep us from acting on our sovereignty and responsibility as a state," he said in a statement.

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