World Bulletin / News Desk
"This ruling paves the way for the eviction of 181 inhabitants and constitutes an involuntary move that would likely amount to forcible transfer," the UN special rapporteurs, Michael Lynk and Leilani Farha, said in a joint statement Thursday.
The residents of Khan al-Ahmar are the descendants of Bedouins who were expelled from the Negev by Israel after 1948, and who were relocated to the West Bank.
"The individual or mass forced transfer of protected persons within an occupied territory is a grave breach of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Forcible transfer also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute, that may lead to individual criminal responsibility. The experts also said that forced eviction is a gross violation of international human rights law," the experts said.
"We are concerned not only for the future of the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, but also for the fate of dozens of other Palestinian Bedouin and herder communities across Area C who live a traditional lifestyle on the land," the experts said.
The experts also called upon Israel to respect the rights of the Khan al-Ahmar residents to remain on their lands and to have their community status regularized.