If the residents don’t comply, Israel is expected to send in its bulldozers any day. It is almost certain they will include machines made by British firm JCB, whose equipment has been used for years to demolish Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank.
British Palestine solidarity activists blocked the entrance to the JCB distribution center in Derby this month to protest the company’s involvement in the demolitions of Palestinian homes.
Half of the almost 200 residents of Khan al-Ahmar are children and teenagers.
JCB and Khan al-Ahmar
On 4 July, BBC correspondent Tom Bateman tweeted a photo of Israeli forces using a JCB excavator to clear the way for the forcible evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar.
Labour Party lawmaker Paula Sherriff raised the issue in Parliament and Burt assured her that an investigation into the use of JCB machinery in the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar would be carried out.
But European governments have a history of prioritizing trade with Israel over respect for international law, and no history of imposing costs on Israel or on the companies that assist its violations.
European Union diplomats have limited their response to toothless statements and symbolic visits.
In August, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights also wrote to JCB asserting that “involvement in the demolition process of Khan al-Ahmar may amount to aiding and abetting the war crime of forcible transfer.”
JCB has not responded to an invitation from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, a corporate accountability watchdog, to answer the allegations in the letter.