Photo Credit: Courtesy of Regavim
The illegal shantytown of Khan al-Ahmar, March 2022.

The ridiculous saga known as the “Khan al-Ahmar affair,” is the perfect proof that it’s all about politics, rather than international law.

European parliamentarian Michiel Hoogeveen said it best when questioned why the European Union never called “any other people’s residential activities in other occupied territories an international crime.”


“The E.U. only talks about illegal settlers in relation to Israeli Jews,” he said, denouncing the twisting of international law to single out Israel.

But the problem lies not with Europe, but with us. When Israel wants to move people, it knows how to deploy the best of its forces, and the jurists are at the ready to help out. When Israel doesn’t want to, even the terrible High Court of Justice gives in.

Despite court rulings, eviction orders, public commitments by two prime ministers and ministers and tens of millions invested in alternative solutions, when push comes to shove, everyone evaporates, like Bennett from the prime minister’s office. Khan al-Ahmar is so deeply rooted that no one dares touch it.

The Arabs have managed to plant this idea in Western consciousness that uprooting the area would prevent the establishment of a future Palestinian state (as if leaving Khan al-Ahmar untouched ensures the establishment of such an entity). Our leaders, perhaps aware of something we are not, are afraid of paying the price of a potential confrontation with U.S. President Joe Biden (who is slated to visit the region next week), German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

And in any case, the West’s insistence on leaving the villagers where they are cannot at the same time prevent Israel from building in areas near E1 which connect Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim.

Israel should tell the United States and its associates that they should either allow us to enforce the law and direct the residents to a proper site, or stop pressuring us in this matter altogether.

E1 is ours, the responsibility is ours and the future is ours, they should say. There is a limit to how much foreign entities can intervene.

This heated matter is something new Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid now has to deal with. Perhaps he, who didn’t count his chickens before they hatched and did not commit to the evacuation of the villagers, who is committed to the unity of Jerusalem, moved there upon becoming premier and is “embraced” by the West will be able to resolve this affair.

{Reposted from the IsraelHayom site}


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Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.