On Wednesday, 1 April 2015, Civil Administration officials accompanied by Border Police forces came to the community of Khan al-Ahmar, adjacent to the settlement of Kfar Adumim. The Civil Administration officials dismantled and confiscated 12 solar panels that provided the sole source of electricity for the residents’ homes.
Filmed by 'Amer 'Aruri, B'Tselem
Yesterday – Wednesday, 1 April 2015 –Civil Administration officials accompanied by Border Police forces came to the community of Khan al-Ahmar, adjacent to the settlement of Kfar Adumim. The Civil Administration officials dismantled and confiscated 12 solar panels that provided the sole source of electricity for the residents’ homes.
The members of the community belong to the Jahalin Bedouin tribe and originate from the Tel Arad area in the Negev. They were expelled by the Israeli army in the 1950s and have been living in their current location ever since. The community now comprises 23 families and a total of some 160 residents, approximately half of whom are children. The community’s school was built in a makeshift fashion, since the Israeli authorities refuse to permit lawful planning in the Bedouin communities in Area C. The school serves all the children from the Bedouin communities in the area. The Civil Administration has issued demolition orders against all the homes in the community and against the school. However, following Supreme Court petitions, the State Attorney’s Office has announced that it would not demolish buildings in the community at present, due to the plan to transfer its residents to the planned city of Nu’eimeh. The new city is slated for construction in the Jericho area, despite opposition from members of the community.
The community is not connected to the electricity grid, although electric wires pass over it. Until recently the community had just two solar panels – one for the school and another purchased privately by one of the families. Over the past three months the residents of the community received nine solar panels funded by donors, enabling them to light their homes. Yesterday two additional solar panels were brought to the community. Shortly after the new panels were received, Civil Administration officials arrived, with a Border Police escort and a crane mounted truck. The Civil Administration officials began to dismantle the solar panels that had been donated, as well as the sole panel purchased privately, and confiscated them. The only panel that was not confiscated was the one serving the school, which now constitutes the sole source of electricity for a community of 160 residents.
Access to electricity supply is a basic need. For decades the Israeli authorities have denied the residents of the community in the area access to basic resources and services, forcing them to live in conditions that do not meet even their most minimal needs. In the absence of an electricity infrastructure, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar managed, with the help of donors, to create a very partial alternative in the form of solar panels. The Civil Administration’s actions have severely undermined living conditions in the area.
This action by the Civil Administration is part of the massive efforts made by various authorities, in pursuit of a broader policy that has been imposed by successive Israeli governments for decades and is aimed at the expulsion of thousands of Palestinian residents living in dozens of communities scattered around Area C. Israeli officials have declared on various occasions that they intend to take control of Area C in order to facilitate the annexation of these areas to Israel as part of a permanent agreement, and until then – to annex them de facto.
B'Tselem urges the Civil Administration to return the confiscated panels to the residents immediately, and to enable them to plan and build legally in their community. As the occupying power, Israel must meet its obligation to act for the benefit and well-being of the residents of the occupied territory. The plan to expel the residents of Khan al-Ahmar from their homes and to force them to live in intolerable conditions constitutes a violation of this obligation.