Israel blocks EU envoys’ visit to school in threatened Bedouin village

Demonstrators waving Palestinian flags try to prevent a bulldozer from passing through in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank

Police at the scene said the area had been declared a closed military zone.

European diplomats on Thursday tried to pay a solidarity visit to a West Bank village under threat of demolition by Israel, but police barred them from reaching a school there.

"We wanted to show our solidarity with this village which is threatened with destruction, for humanitarian reasons and because it is a major issue of worldwide law", the Consul General of France in Jerusalem, Pierre Cochard, told journalists at the scene.

The village, which is located near the occupied city of Jerusalem and next to one of Israel's largest illegal settlements in the West Bank, Ma'ale Adumim, has been targeted for years.

Israeli forces assaulted residents alongside activists and supporters of the Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin village east of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

Israeli authorities hung notices around the village on Tuesday evening, warning the residents of their impending expulsion.

Heavy equipment was seen in the area on Wednesday, prompting speculation a road was being prepared to facilitate the village's evacuation and demolition.

Israel said it plans to relocate the residents to an area about 12 kilometers (seven miles) away, near the Palestinian village of Abu Dis. Activists expect the demolition to happen within the next few days.

Protesters, including some waving Palestinian flags, tried to block a bulldozer and tussled with police at Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem.

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Representing 28% of all United Nations members, the African Group reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people's right to self-determination.

"Forcible transfer of Palestinian communities is a war crime, and all who are involved in approving or implementing it bear personal liability", Gilutz said.

Several dozen families from the Bedouin clan of Jahalin moved to the village after their expulsion from the Negev in the 1950s.

Khan al-Ahmar is located east of Jerusalem near several major Israeli settlement blocs and close to a highway leading to the Dead Sea.

Israel forces arrived this morning to two Palestinian-Bedouin villages and began razing buildings in preparation for taking over the land, alarming human rights groups who say such a move would effectively cut the West Bank into two.

The European Union and the United Nations have called on the Israeli regime to halt its plan to raze the village, saying such actions are contrary to global law and undermine peace efforts.

Sources added that Israeli police deployed near the Bedouin village blocked the main road.

The community is inhabited by 181 Palestinians, more than half of them are children, without basic services, including running water, electricity, health services, and are surrounded by illegal Israeli colonies.

The Israeli defence ministry's COGAT unit for civilian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories said the demolitions had taken place after the "owners of the buildings failed to utilise the planning procedures to their fullest extent".

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