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Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan had earlier signaled that demolition of Khan al-Ahmar might not be imminent, noting that the decision will probably be implemented in the coming weeks. "But the legal options for this community have been exhausted", she said. Lawmakers from Britain's Labour party called for a decisive response, weighing recognizing Palestinian statehood and banning trade with Israeli companies that operate in the settlements.

"These pastoral communities are mostly Palestine refugees - originally displaced from their tribal lands in the Negev".

In an appeal to the Israeli authorities, the OHCHR spokesperson said that if the demolitions went ahead, "people would lose their homes, children would lose their schools" and residents "would lose their community".

She said "international humanitarian law prohibits the destruction or confiscation of private property by the occupying power", a reference to Israel, which captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war.

"A theft that will cut the West Bank into two, making a continuous Palestinian state near impossible and the prospects of a two state solution so more remote".

The confrontation came after activists said the Israeli military had issued a warrant to the 173 residents of Khan al-Ahmar on Tuesday, authorizing soldiers to seize access roads to the village.

"Today they are proceeding with infrastructure work to facilitate the demolition and forcible transfer of residents", Amit Gilutz, spokesman for B'Tselem, told AFP.

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Israel has long tried to displace this village. "They should not be forced to experience a second displacement against their will".

Swedish, Irish, Norwegian, Dutch, British and other diplomats visited Thursday morning but left after police wouldn't allow them to actually enter the village.

"We wanted to show our solidarity with this village which is threatened with destruction, for humanitarian reasons and because it is a major issue of worldwide law", the Consul General of France in Jerusalem, Pierre Cochard, told journalists at the scene.

"Israel should stop such actions and plans for relocating Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank", the tweet read, Press TV reported.

The new site is adjacent to a landfill and rights advocates say that a forcible transfer of the residents would violate worldwide law applying to occupied territory.

The reasons for the removal of communities like Khan al-Ahmar include the expansion of Israel's settlements, its de facto annexation of land and its desire to bisect the West Bank east of Jerusalem.

"The Israelis are racist, they do not want any Palestinians in this area, because it is the gateway to East Jerusalem", he said.


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