By Abdel Raouf Arnaout and Hamdi Yildiz
JERUSALEM (AA) – Khan al-Ahmar, an Arab village in East Jerusalem, will be demolished and its inhabitants evicted, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, according to local media reports.
Netanyahu reportedly made the assertion at a Monday meeting of his right-wing Likud party, which leads Israel’s current coalition government.
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the prime minister did not give an exact date for the demolition, plans for which he suspended last month, drawing criticism from some members of his cabinet.
In July, Israeli bulldozers destroyed several structures in Khan al-Ahmar, sparking clashes with local residents. Two months later, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled to demolish the village.
Israel plans to evict some 10,000 Bedouin residents of what is known as the E1 Zone, which sits on 15 square kilometers (5.8 square miles) of land in East Jerusalem, to make way for a series of Jewish-only housing units linking Jerusalem to the Maale Adumim settlement.
If implemented, the plan would effectively cut the West Bank in two, preempting the possibility of a territorially contiguous Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.