17:20 GMT22 September 2020
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    Dozens of Bedouin protesters have been hurt in clashes with Israeli forces preparing to tear down a village in the West Bank. A Conservative MP demanded the British government lodge a protest but the Foreign Secretary was nowhere to be seen.

    Bulldozers moved into Khan al-Ahmar after an Israeli court ruled the village had been built without a permit from the Israeli government, which has illegally occupied the West Bank since 1967 despite numerous UN resolutions.

    The village lies between two illegal Jewish settlements and the government is thought to want to build a road to link them.

    Around 173 Bedouin people face being made homeless

    Tear Gas and Stun Grenades

    "Israeli forces used tear gas and stun grenades against Bedouins who protested the demolition of their homes. Forty-one people were injured, seven hospitalized," Palestine Red Crescent Society's Erab Fuqaha said on Wednesday, July 4.

    UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, has condemned Israeli actions, saying its plans to forcefully relocate the Arab nomads ran counter to international laws and undermined the two-state solution.

    Among the British politicians who have come to the defense of the villagers are Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames.

    ​Sir Nicholas asked a question in the House of  Commons.

    "I believe in a secure Israel alongside a viable and independent Palestine but it is beyond comprehension how a remarkable country like Israel — cultured, sophisticated and democratic — whose people have themselves over the centuries known such terrible suffering, can countenance such wicked behavior contrary to all international laws and humanitarian conventions as she continues to bulldoze Palestinian villages like Khan al-Ahmar, whose residents' houses are at this moment being flattened," Sir Nicholas told MPs.

    Behaving in 'Barbaric' Way

    "What other country to dare to behave in this barbaric way and will the government condemn these actions in the strongest possible terms?" he asked.

    The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, was not in the chamber to answer the question and it was left to a junior minister, Alistair Burt, to respond, and he said he was "perplexed" by Israel's actions.

    ​Mr. Burt visited the village in May and called on the Israeli government to show restraint.

    In a dig at Mr. Johnson, Sir Nicholas tweeted about him lying down in front of the bulldozers at Khan al-Ahmar, as he famously said he would to stop the building of a third runway at Heathrow. Since becoming Foreign Secretary, Mr. Johnson has dropped his opposition to the third runway.

    ​Israeli rights group B'Tselem said nine people had been arrested on Wednesday, including the organization's own head of field research.

    "They are proceeding with infrastructure work to facilitate the demolition and forcible transfer of residents," said Amit Gilutz, a spokesman for B'Tselem.

    The Palestinian Red Crescent said 35 people were injured, with four taken to hospital.

    ​Police claimed stones were thrown at officers.

    The villagers said Israeli construction permits were never issued to Palestinians for building in parts of the West Bank close to Jewish settlements.

    Palestinian activists say the continued construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the area could effectively divide the West Bank in two.


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    illegal settlements, Israeli settlements, villagers, bulldozer, bedouins, UN, Benjamin Netanyahu, Boris Johnson, Palestine, Israel, United Kingdom
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