U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein issued a direct appeal to Israel on Thursday to abandon plans to demolish a strategically placed bedouin village.
“The only reason to destroy this community is to expand nearby Israeli settlements and split the West Bank in half,” Feinstein said on Twitter, stressing “the potential for peace depends on what happens to Khan al Ahmar.”
Israel earlier Thursday razed a symbolic “village” in East Jerusalem erected by Palestinian activists to protest Israel’s plan to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.
Dozens of Palestinian activists hastily erected the symbolic village, known as al-Wadi al-Ahmar, earlier this week. It consisted of five homes built of tin and wood before it was demolished.
Walid Assaf, the head of an anti-settlement commission affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Anadolu Agency the destruction of al-Wadi al-Ahmar was likely a prelude to the imminent demolition of nearby Khan al-Ahmar and the eviction of its inhabitants.
The symbolic village was built as a means to protest Israel’s plan to demolish Khan al-Ahmar to make way for its massive E1 settlement project.
Israel seeks to expel 10,000 bedouin residents in the E1 zone — which sits on 15 square kilometers (9 square miles) of land in East Jerusalem — to build Jewish-only residential units linking Jerusalem to the Maale Adumim settlement.
If implemented, the plan would effectively cut the West Bank in two, thus preempting the emergence of a territorially-contiguous Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders — a central tenet of the long-sought two-state solution.