School year opens in Khan al Ahmar

A statement delivered by David Carden, Head OCHA oPt, on the occasion of the opening of the school year in Khan al Ahmar, a ‎Palestinian community at risk of forcible transfer

Delivered on behalf of the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper

We come here today to express our solidarity with the people of Khan al Ahmar, long identified as a community at risk of forcible transfer and with whom the international community has worked closely for many years.

As we know, Khan al Ahmar is one of 46 residential areas in the central West Bank identified as being at risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli ‘relocation’ plans. It is among the scores of vulnerable Palestinian communities across the occupied Palestinian territory who struggle daily to meet their basic needs and realize their rights in a coercive environment that creates pressure on them to leave their homes.

Demolitions, the lack of a fair planning regime, restricted access to basic services and natural resources, often in connection to the takeover of land and settlement expansion activities, are key features of this environment. The broader context is Israel’s prolonged occupation and a general lack of respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

The humanitarian community remains committed to supporting communities like Khan al Ahmar, through the provision of a broad range of assistance, but also though proactive advocacy designed to prevent forcible transfer and protect residents’ human rights. In particular, we continue to call on the Israeli authorities to fulfill their obligations as an occupying power and to rescind all policies and practices that, directly or indirectly, lead to the forcible transfer of Palestinian Bedouin families.

In closing, and on behalf of the humanitarian community, I commend your commitment to the fundamental right of your children to education and wish them the best of luck this academic year.

Thank you.