11:43 - September 13, 2018
News ID: 3466748
TEHRAN (IQNA) –Israeli troops removed caravans on Thursday from near a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank which they have orders to demolish despite international criticism, an AFP photographer reported.

The pre-dawn operation on the outskirts of Khan al-Ahmar raised fears among the villlage´s 200 residents that its demolition had begun.

The soldiers took away five caravans which hade been pitched by activists campaigning against the village´s demolition.

The army blocked off access to the village and there were no clashes during the operation, the AFP photographer said.

The Israeli defence ministry body which oversees the Palestinian territories, said the five caravans had been pitched illegally over the past few days.

"The erection of these structures was advanced by representatives of the Palestinian Authority in protest and defiance of the decision of the (Israeli) High Court of Justice, and in opposition to the enforcement of Israeli law in Area C," COGAT said, referring to the 61 per cent of the West Bank where the army exercises full civil as well as military authority.

On September 5, Israel´s supreme court upheld an order to raze the village on grounds that it was built without the proper permits.

Palestinians say it is virtually impossible for them to obtain Israeli permits to build in Area C of the West Bank, where Khan al-Ahmar is situated.

An temporary stay against the village´s demolition expired on Wednesday, meaning that the army now start implementing the court order as and when they see fit..

On Monday, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain issued a renewed call for Israel not to demolish the village, warning of the consequences for residents as well as "the prospects of the two-state solution".

Khan al-Ahmar lies in a strategic area east of Jerusalem near several major Israeli settlements close to a highway to the Dead Sea between the Weast Bank and Jordan.

There have been repeated warnings that persistent Israeli settlement expansion in the area could effectively cut the West Bank in two further damaging the prospects for a viable Palestinian state.

Israeli authorities have offered alternative sites for Khan al-Ahmar residents, but villagers say the first was near a rubbish dump and the latest close to a sewage treatment plant.

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