Palestinian students ask Merkel to protect their village

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian schoolchildren in a West Bank hamlet slated for destruction have asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to intervene on their behalf.

The pupils held posters of Merkel on Tuesday in Khan al-Ahmar, pleading with her to pressure Israel to halt demolition plans for the encampment of shacks near Jerusalem.

Merkel and members of her Cabinet are to arrive Wednesday for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel says the village was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents a few miles (kilometers) away. But Palestinians and other critics say the demolition is aimed at displacing Palestinians in favor of Israeli settlement expansion. Israel’s Supreme Court recently rejected a final appeal against the plans.

Israel has come under heavy criticism, with major European countries urging it to avoid such actions.

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