The people of Khan Al Ahmar, a small village in the occupied West Bank, have lived as refugees for half a century. Although their village is located 10 minutes from Jerusalem, their households have no running water and no electricity. Now Khan Al Ahmar, situated in an area earmarked for future expansion of the Israeli settlement Ma’ale Adumim, is being targeted for demolition and its people for forcible transfer.
In the film Nowhere Left to Go, an elderly resident of Khan Al Ahmar states: “We have an empty life. We have no land, no home. And now they’re threatening to transfer us—what can we do?” In 2016, 12 structures in this same community were demolished, leaving 60 residents homeless (including 35 children).
The short video below from United Church solidarity partner B’Tselem, a human rights organization, shows Israel’s civil administration and police serving stop-work orders (a predecessor to demolition orders) in Khan Al Ahmar on February 19, 2017:
Israeli Civil Administration issued 42 demolition orders for Khan Al Ahmar on March 5, 2017. The community was given seven days to execute the orders—they must self-demolish all homes and structures, including their school. Shlomo Lecker, legal advocate for Khan Al Ahmar, describes the situation as "extremely serious and urgent," adding that "maximum diplomatic pressure" is now required. Since March, diplomatic visits and international pressure from United Church people and others have resulted in a delay of the planned destruction. An appeal court hearing for Khan al Ahmar is scheduled for April 30, 2017.
The impact that ordinary people who seek justice can have when they take action is clear. Write to your elected representatives, asking them to act urgently for the sake of justice for the people of Khan Al Ahmar.
- Write to the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and your member of Parliament:
- Ask Minister Freeland to urge Canada to call on the Israeli government to immediately freeze all settlement activity and demolition orders.
- Request that your MP call on Minister Freeland during question period to ask what actions Canada is taking to press the Israeli government to reverse the demolition orders.
- Share this Take Action on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #KhanAlAhmar, #Israel, #Palestine.
- Urge Minister Freeland to request that Canadian diplomatic missions in Palestine and Israel visit Khan Al Ahmar. In 2015, European Union representatives visited the village of Susiya, which was also threatened with demolition. International publicity from this visit was vital in halting the planned demolitions in Susiya.
The United Church of Canada has a long history of working with others to seek peace with justice in Israel and Palestine. This work is rooted in the gospel mandate to be peacemakers and in response to the calls of Palestinian and Israeli partners.
The repeated threats of demolitions in Bedouin Palestinian villages—such as Susiya and Ein ar Rashash—are a violation of international law. As the occupying power, Israel is bound by international humanitarian law to protect the Palestinian civilian population and administer the territory for their benefit. International law also prohibits the destruction of private property and the forced transfer or displacement of civilians.
According to Canadian policy, all Israeli settlements, including Ma’ale Adumim, are illegal. Demolitions and forcible displacement of Khan Al Ahmar and similar communities are a serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and leave hundreds of people homeless.
For more information about current activities, see Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel.
Send your letters and e-mails to:
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
E-mail: chrystia.freeland [at] international.gc.ca
Conservative Party of Canada
E-mail: peter.kent [at] parl.gc.ca
New Democratic Party
E-mail: helene.laverdiere [at] parl.gc.ca
Green Party of Canada
E-mail: elizabeth.may [at] parl.gc.ca
E-mail: luc.theriault [at] parl.gc.ca
Send copies of your letters and emails to:
For more information contact: