The Regavim Movement petitioned the High Court of Justice more than a decade ago for the evacuation of Khan al Ahmar, the illegal squatters’ camp encroaching on Route 1 and the Jewish community of Kfar Adumim. On Tuesday night, Channel 12 reported that the Bennett-Lapid government intends to relocate the squatters only 300 meters away from their current location (Exclusive: Khan al-Ahmar Residents Say They’re Unaware of Government’s Evacuation Decision).
Regavim’s Director-General Meir Deutsch issued a statement saying: “This harebrained scheme hatched by the Defense Ministry will turn the Palestinian Authority’s flagship outpost in Judea and Samaria into a permanent, recognized Palestinian settlement. The PA targeted this point on the map precisely because of its critical strategic value as the link between Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Jericho – an area where there is no Palestinian Arab presence. Enabling the takeover and de facto annexation of this strategic location will be a fiasco for the security and strategic integrity of the State of Israel.”
Deutsch continued: “The Israeli government invested millions preparing an alternative location for Khan al Ahmar on Israeli state land in Jahalin West near Abu Dis. The relocation of the squatters has been stalled solely due to European pressure. It is inconceivable that the very same members of this government who repeatedly attacked Netanyahu for his failure to evacuate the squatters of Khan al Ahmar are now responsible for this bizarre, pathetic alternative – one that is far worse in every way. The planned relocation will do little to improve the lives of the squatters, but it will set a dangerous precedent of state-sanctioned annexation for the dozens of illegal squatters’ camps throughout the region that were established according to the Khan al Ahmar model.”
Deutsch is absolutely on the money. Whoever controls Khan al-Ahmar controls the future of a Palestinian State, since the illegal outpost, with a transient population of fewer than 180 nomads assembled and supported by the PA and the EU, is located smack in the narrowest part of Judea and Samaria. If Khan al-Ahmar is allowed to remain and thrive, it would ensure a contiguous Palestinian State. If it is removed—and its dwellers are given proper homes miles away—Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim will eventually be united by Jewish urban sprawl, cutting any future Palestinian state in the middle.
In May 2018, the Israeli High Court of Justice determined that the residents of Khan al-Ahmar could be evicted. The United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the European Parliament, and Amnesty International – all of them great friends of Israel and Zionism – have objected to the demolition of the shantytown suggesting it would be a violation of international law. They are all wrong, for several reasons, including the legal weight of the Oslo agreements and the fact that their interpretation of the Geneva convention regarding the “West Bank” is erroneous and misleading.
Regavim, which has been waging a legal battle in the High Court of Justice against the illegal outpost since 2009, submitted a sixth petition on the eve of the April 9, 2019 elections, demanding that the state explain why it had not implemented the clear demolition ruling, contradicting its own statements made before the High Court of Justice that the illegal outpost would be evacuated and demolished by June 2018, followed by a promise to do it by the end of September 2018.
Now Gantz et al in the Lapid-Bennett government will be carrying out a show of self-deception while guaranteeing a future Palestinian State. The Netanyahu and Bennett governments have this one thing in common: the same defense minister laboring to give away Judea and Samaria to the Arabs.