WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), John Yarmuth (KY-03), David Price (NC-04), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Keith Ellison (MN-05) and Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) released the following statement in opposition to the demolitions scheduled to take place in the Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar:
“We are among the dozens of Members of Congress who sent a May 21, 2018 letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging his government not to demolish the homes and other structures of Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank. We were deeply dismayed to learn that on July 4, as Americans were observing the Independence Day holiday, the Israeli government demolished or took steps towards demolishing structures in three separate such villages.
“On the morning of July 4, Israeli authorities and bulldozers arrived in the village of Khan al-Ahmar – a community we specifically mentioned in our letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu – and began to pave the way for an access road that will be used to facilitate the eviction of its residents. Israeli media reported that the area has been closed to the general public and that demolitions are expected to take place within weeks or days. In addition, Israeli authorities carried out demolitions in the village of Abu a-Nawar and made preparations for the destruction of seven structures in the village of Susya.
“As we wrote in our letter to the Prime Minister: ‘The forcible eviction of Palestinian communities and the expansion of settlements in areas of the West Bank, which would become part of a future Palestinian state, abandon our two countries’ shared values of justice and respect for human rights. These actions unilaterally change facts on the ground and jeopardize the prospects of a two-state solution. This endangers Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy and prohibitively impacts Palestinian’s national aspirations.’
“As members of Congress – as previous administrations from both parties have done – we strongly and publicly oppose these moves to demolish and displace Palestinian communities. While we are encouraged by the recent injunction issued on the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, we hope Israeli authorities cease to challenge decisions to delay the demolition, and ultimately cease their ongoing efforts to demolish villages like Khan al-Ahmar and Susya.
“Like so many supporters of Israel in the United States and around the world, we urge the Israeli government to reverse course and respect the basic rights of the residents of these communities.”