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Palestinians charge Israel with war crimes for targeting West Bank village

By
Sommer Brokaw
An Israeli police officer stands on a hill overlooking homes demolished by a bulldozer in the West Bank on July 4. The military destroyed ten houses there as part of a plan to relocate Palestinian dwellers. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
An Israeli police officer stands on a hill overlooking homes demolished by a bulldozer in the West Bank on July 4. The military destroyed ten houses there as part of a plan to relocate Palestinian dwellers. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Palestinian authorities said Tuesday it has filed a war crimes complaint against Israel with the International Criminal Court, over Tel Aviv's plan to demolish a Palestinian village in the West Bank.

The filing claims war crimes were committed in the West Bank town of Khan al-Ahmar, due to forcible displacement, ethnic cleansing and destruction of civilian property, Palestinian Liberation Organization executive Saeb Erekat said.

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The complaint says Israel's plan to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, which sparked some international outcry, meets the definition of a war crime.

Israel said the village was built illegally and has offered to resettle residents, but opponents say it's part of continued forcible displacement of Palestinians to make room for a new Israeli settlement.

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"We hope that an official judicial investigation can be opened as soon as possible," Erekat said.

"We are determined to pursue this crime. We are determined to pursue our fight in the Security Council, General Assembly, Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice."

Erekat said the U.S. decision to close the PLO's Washington mission and moving its embassy to Jerusalem makes it difficult to negotiate with the United States.

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"They are really part of the problem and not part of the solution," Erekat said.

European countries have urged Israel this week to refrain from demolishing the town.

Human rights advocates say the forcible removal violates human rights law, but the Israel Supreme Court rejected an appeal last week that clears the way for Khan al-Ahmar's demolition.

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The ruling gave "occupation forces the authority to commit an international crime by forcibly displacing the 180 Palestinian citizens of Khan al-Ahmar," Palestinian government said.

An area 7 miles away, where Israel wants to resettle the Palestinians, is next to a landfill.

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