Children from the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar have capitalised on the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Israel, by urging her to intervene in Israel’s plan to demolish their homes.
On October 4, while the German chancellor met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, dozens of students from Khan al-Amar’s school protested outside the residence.
The children arrived dressed in school uniform and held signs asking Merkel to urge Israel to stop the demolition.
One of the children demonstrating, Iman Abu Dahuk, expressed: For the past two and a half months we have been living in inhumane conditions, and we are constantly afraid that the bulldozers may enter any moment.
I hope that Mrs Merkel will succeed in getting the message out and prevent the demolition.
Whilst accompanying the children from the school at the demonstration activist Angela Godrey-Goldstein told +972 Magazine:
Merkel needs to do something, not just talk, we can still save the school and allow a fair life for the Bedouin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Israel on October 3, after delaying the trip by a year and a half partially due to Germany’s objection to Israel’s illegal settlement efforts.
While many news outlets suggested the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar to be a significant talking point during the diplomatic visit, neither party said much on the topic.
The Israeli army radio reportedly claimed Merkel had threatened to cancel the meeting if Israel was to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar before her arrival.
Merkel strongly denied this as baseless rumours.
Speaking to students at the Jerusalem Museum during her visit, Merkel stated:
Time and again it was claimed that we conditioned our trip on this. We never spoke about this in government. This information came to us from Israel, that we might not travel, and that is absolutely false.
Speaking further on Merkel’s visit coinciding with the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, she mentioned she had critical remarks on Israel’s illegal settlement expansion at the cost of Palestinian villages.
But that is not relevant here, she concluded.
However, Israel’s culture minister Miri Regev warned Merkel not to interfere in Israel’s decision on the Bedouin village.
I advise her to deal with internal problems of her own country, Regev said.
We respect Mrs Merkel and we are pleased with the cooperation between our two countries, but with all due respect, regarding our internal problems, I expect that foreign leaders who come here don’t interfere.
The German Government, as well as the European Union, have previously called on Israel not to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.
A tweet from the German Foreign Office in May read: The German government is deeply concerned by impending demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. We urge the Israeli government to refrain from resettling the residents.
Despite international condemnation, Israel has ordered the residents of Khan al-Ahmar to evacuate by October 1.
Considering this deadline has passed, the Jewish high holiday season has ended and Merkel’s visit concluded, many expect the demolition to come soon.
Source: Palestine Monitor