Alistair Carmichael, MP for the Orkney and Shetland, today challenged the Prime Minister to defend human rights in occupied Palestinian territories. The West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar, is facing demolition, an action which the United Nations characterised as a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime. Preparations for demolition started on 15th October, with work expected to start at any moment.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:
“The Bedouin community of Khan Al-Ahmer in the Occupied Palestinian Territories faces imminent demolition and is currently being swamped with sewage from the nearby settlement of Kfar Adumim. Just this morning Israeli forces have tasered and pepper sprayed activists there.
"Will the Prime Minister make it clear to the Prime Minister of Israel that this is occupied territory; that these are refugees, protected people, whose forcible removal would, as the UN states, constitute a war crime?”
Responding, the Prime Minister said:
“My Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East met the Israeli Ambassador on the 11th of October. He made clear the deep concerns that the UK has about Israel’s planned demolition of the village of Khan Al-Ahmer. Its demolition would be a major blow for the prospects of a two state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital. I, once again, call on the Israeli Government not to go ahead with its plans to demolish the village, including its school and the displacement of its residents.”
Commenting after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael added:
“I welcome the fact that the Foreign Office Minister raised this issue with the Ambassador last week, but it appears to have done little to dissuade the Israeli Government from proceeding anyway. We are now just a single step away from perhaps causing permanent and irreparable damage to the two state solution, and the Israeli Government must think again.
“Many residents in the Northern Isles have been in touch with me recently about this appalling situation, and they will likely be pleased that the British Government have made representations, but disappointed that nothing appears to have changed.
“The village is one of the last remaining Palestinian villages in the area, and those who live and work there are some of the most vulnerable individuals in the region. Israel must not proceed with its demolition.”