Bedouin villagers of Khan al Ahmar in occupied West Bank are hopeful that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in Israel for a two-day visit, will intervene to save their village from being demolished by Israeli troops.
Palestinians have appealed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to intervene to save the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar, which is at risk of demolition by Israeli authorities.
Merkel arrived in Israel on Wednesday for a two-day visit during which she will hold talks with Israeli officials on relations between the two countries, Iran nuclear ambitions and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Merkel and Netanyahu did not make any statements after her arrival in Jerusalem. They were due to hold talks after dinner at the prime minister's official residence but most of the business will take place on Thursday, October 4.
Merkel, however, will not visit Ramallah or meet Palestinian officials during her visit.
She had reportedly threatened to cancel her visit if Khan al Ahmar homes are demolished by Israeli forces.
"The German government usually sides with us in these decisions. The people of Khan al Ahmar send their message to [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel to stand beside us as we are used to seeing from the German government by taking decisions against Israel at the United Nations," said Ibrahim Abu Dahuk, a Khan al Ahmar resident.
"Hopefully they can do their utmost efforts to stop the demolition."
The children of #khanalAhmar, a Palestinian village facing demolition by Israel, sending a message to Angela Merkel before her official visit to Jerusalem tomorrow: No to demolishing Khan al-Ahmar, Save our school. @GermanyDiplo pic.twitter.com/0qqQkGrU6B— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) October 2, 2018
Israel's 'ethnic cleansing policy'
"The European Union has warned against the consequences of tearing down the village and Merkel should send a clear message to Israeli officials that the demolition of Khan al Ahmar would expose Israel to accountability," prominent Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti told Anadolu Agency.
He called on the German Chancellor to stand against Israel's "ethnic cleansing policy" against the Palestinians in general and Khan al Ahmar residents in particular.
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Merkel is expected to raise the issue of the Khan al Ahmar demolition during her talks with Israeli officials.
The newspaper said that the hamlet will not be demolished during Merkel's visit due to "diplomatic sensitivities."
The meeting was led by Knesset member Mossi Raz of the left-wing Meretz party and German lawmaker Omid Nouripour.
"The evacuation of Khan al Ahmar is a war crime that contravenes international law. I hope the international community will mobilize to help stop the demolition of the community and put pressure on the Israeli government," Raz told Haaretz.
On Tuesday, Palestinians demonstrated against the demolition, with many waving Merkel's pictures amid calls for her to stop the demolition plans.
On September 5, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled to demolish Khan al Ahmar and evict the village's Bedouin inhabitants.
Israel plans to expel some 10,000 Bedouin residents of what is known as the E1 Zone, which sits on 15 square km of land in occupied East Jerusalem, to make way for housing units linking occupied Jerusalem to the Maale Adumim settlement.
If implemented, the plan would effectively cut the occupied West Bank in two, preempting the possibility of a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.