The Tragedy of Khan al-Amar
This is a picture of the school girls of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Amar who will not only lose their school but also their homes. In the next few days the entire village will be destroyed by Israeli authorities with the permission of the Israeli Supreme Court.
It is not a big village, only about 200 Palestinians live there but the village is located in the West Bank between the Israeli settlements of Maale Adumin and Kfar Adumin in area C. The Area C designation covers about 60% of the West Bank and Israel has administrative and Security control of the area. Israel has decided to demolish the village to make land available in case either of the Jewish settlements wants to expand in the future. Israel is offering these Palestinians land for their village next to a garbage dump near Abu Dis or on wasteland near Jericho.
Many of the structures in the village were built with the help of the European Union. The pride of the village is the school house which was build by the E.U. using used rubber tires since the Palestinians in the village are not allowed by Israel to use cement in their structures. What makes this demolition especially tragic is the villagers used to live in Southern Israel on the outskirts of the Negev desert. In 1952 the Israelis demolished that village and moved all the villagers to the location in the West Bank that is now subject to a new demolition.
This demolition has struck me especially hard. I have driven past this village dozens of times. In October of 2015 I was driving past the village and stopped to watch the children of the village playing. Having fun as children are want to do. I stopped for about 15 minutes just watching the kids playing, shouting and laughing. I thought to myself, from here I can’t tell if those kids are Jewish or Muslim, Israeli or Palestinian, why can’t this conflict be solved. I was still in turmoil when I arrived at my relatives house in Kiryat Arba and mentioned what I had seen to my uncle – his words still sting and resonate in my mind. “They are not people, they are Palestinians”. This pretty much sums up the tears I know I will shed the day Khan al-Amar ceases to exist, even though I know no one there.