Tánaiste condemns demolitions and forced evictions of Palestinian community

More than 50 people were forcibly evicted on Wednesday, including 33 children

Tánaiste condemns demolitions and forced evictions of Palestinian community

Image via @jamiemcgoldric8 on Twitter

The Tánaiste Simon Coveney has condemned the demolitions and forced evictions at the Palestinian community of Abu Nuwar.

Nineteen structures there have been bulldozed by Israeli authorities.

Mr Coveney also expressed "extreme concern" about the situation in the village of Khan al Ahmar, where the community is at high risk of forcible transfer.

He said: "I am deeply dismayed to learn of the demolitions carried out by the Israeli authorities in Abu Nuwar.

"Today 51 people have been victims of forced eviction, including 33 children.

"I am also extremely worried about the imminent threat to the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar."

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney | File photo

He continued: "I have seen reports of violent attacks on villagers and their supporters by Israeli security forces today, causing some to be hospitalised.

"Logistical preparations have begun for the demolition of the village and forcible transfer of the residents to another location, following the publication of plans for expansion of a nearby Israeli settlement.

"The eviction of families and demolition of their homes is an action which has a strong historical resonance in Ireland, and which brings discredit on Israel.

"Reprehensible action"

"Some of these most vulnerable people had already been expelled once by Israel from their homes and should have been protected by the occupation authorities, not subject to further injustice.

"The villagers have not consented to moving, and the planning regime makes it virtually impossible for them to obtain planning permission for housing or other structures in their village.

"International humanitarian law clearly prohibits the destruction of private property and the forcible transfer of the population of an occupied territory."

Khan al Ahmar is seen in February 2017 | Image: ochaopt.org

Mr Coveney said Ireland has made these points "clearly" to Israeli representatives.

"On May 31st last, I spoke publicly about my concerns about Khan al Ahmar, and called on the Israeli authorities to halt the demolitions of Palestinian property and the removal of Palestinian communities.

"I have also made Ireland’s views on settlements known directly to the Prime Minister of Israel. I know these views have been strongly echoed in the Oireachtas.

"It is deeply disappointing that Israel is nonetheless proceeding with this reprehensible action."

Back in May, the European Union Heads of Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah said they were "deeply concerned" about the plans.

An EU delegation visited the community in the Jerusalem periphery, while EU Heads of Missions also met with community leaders.

Khan al-Ahmar is home to a school which serves around 170 children of five local communities.

Several structures in the community, including the school, were funded by the EU or EU member states.

The EU said demolition of the school would "severely impact" on Palestinian children's right to education.