EU nations urge Israel not to demolish West Bank village

Residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank fear Israeli troops are poised to demolish it after they removed caravans pitched by activists on the outskirts following the expiry of a court stay

Five European countries have urged Israel not to raze a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, where authorities are allowed to move ahead with the demolition as early as Wednesday.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain on Monday issued a renewed call for Israel not to demolish the village of Khan al-Ahmar, where around 200 people live.

"The consequences a demolition and displacement would have on the residents of this community, including their children, as well as on the prospects of the two-state solution would be very serious," the countries said in a joint statement.

On September 5, Israel's supreme court upheld an order to raze the village on grounds that it was built without the proper permits.

Palestinians say it is virtually impossible for them to obtain Israeli permits to build in Area C of the West Bank, where Khan al-Ahmar is situated.

An order preventing the village's demolition expires within seven days of the supreme court ruling, meaning Israeli authorities can move against the village, as early as Wednesday.

The Palestinians submitted a new complaint to the International Criminal Court on Tuesday against Israel in connection with the village, top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said.

Khan al-Ahmar is in a strategic spot east of Jerusalem, located near several major Israeli settlements and close to a highway leading to the Dead Sea.

There are warnings that continued settlement building in that area could lead to Israel cutting the West Bank in two between north and south, further damaging prospects for a Palestinian state.

Israeli authorities have offered alternative sites for Khan al-Ahmar residents, but residents say the first proposal was near a dump and the latest is close to a sewage treatment plant.