Khan al-Ahmar is seen as key to the fight for Palestinian statehood. Only a temporary court order now stands between the Bedouin hamlet and the bulldozers

Commuters speeding along the four-lane highway that connects Jerusalem to Jericho might not notice this tiny Bedouin village of fewer than 200 people tucked in the dip of two hills. Tents hoisted with chipped scrap-wood and sand-covered corrugated-iron shacks are home to once-nomadic families who settled after the Israeli army expelled them from the southern desert seven decades ago. Some residents work in nearby factories owned by Israeli settlers. Others herd sheep and goats on the scorching rocky terrain.

But Khan al-Ahmar’s modest appearance belies its significance to many Palestinians as the keystone of their struggle for statehood – a community whose location is so strategic that, if they were removed, it might crumble hopes for a future country.

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