Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS
The Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, Oct 16, 2018.

For the ninth time: the State of Israel asks the High Court to allow another postponement of its response to Regavim’s petition for the evacuation of the Palestinian Authority’s flagship illegal outpost, Khan al-Ahmar. Regavim: “A right-wing government is tested by deeds, not by words.”

The Israeli government requested yet another four month postponement from the High Court, in the issue of the evacuation of the illegal outpost, Khan al-Ahmar.


The Bedouins of the Jahalin tribe built the village’s first structures without permits on state-owned land in the 1970s between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. Its residents — around 200 adults and children — are not Israeli citizens. A decades-long legal battle appeared to end in May 2018 when an Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled the outpost could be demolished and its residents relocated.

Despite the ruling, the previous governments of Benjamin Netanyahu and Yair Lapid never evacuated Khan al-Ahmar.

“The political echelon remains steadfast in its position that the rule of law requires the demolition orders to be carried out in the Khan Al Ahmar compound,” according to the state’s request to the court, adding that in the weeks since the formation of the present government, the new head of the National Security Council, MK Tzachi Hanegavi, has been working in cooperation with the National Security Advisor, representatives of the Ministry of Defense, the IDF, the General Security Service (Shin Bet), the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice, and other government representatives.

“The details of this intensive effort speak to the complexity, sensitivity and importance that state officials attach to compliance with the conditional orders already issued in this matter, as well as the fact that the issue is a high priority… On the other hand, given the complexity of the issue and its sensitivity, the high level of interest in the international community and the and implications for the foreign relations and security of the State of Israel at the present time, those charged with handling this case at the professional level have been instructed to complete all necessary steps required to formulate an appropriate response to the conditional order as soon as possible. The formulation of a detailed response on such a sensitive and complicated issue justifies the position of the political echelon that an additional stay be granted to enable the professionals to complete their work and to submit a comprehensive analysis to the political echelon.”

The Regavim Movement issued a strongly-worded statement criticizing the postponement request. “We were hoping for an appropriate response by a national right-wing government – as promised in the election campaign,” said Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim. “There is no justification for this. Like Cato in ancient Rome, we continue to repeat the same demand, to hold the same consistent position, to call upon our representatives in the government to act immediately to evacuate this illegal encampment,- as well as dozens of other Palestinian Authority outposts created in the same mold – not 300 meters away from its present location, but to the neighborhood prepared precisely for this purpose near Abu Dis.”

Regavim responded to the state’s request for postponement by calling on the High Court to issue a final order, as it intimated it would when it granted the previous postponement, and put an end to the saga once and for all. “This is an extreme case of ‘lack of reasonableness’,” added Deutsch. “After all is said and done, this case will prove whether the High Court applies the same standard of reasonableness to cases from both sides of the political divide, or whether the reasonableness standard is nothing more than a judicial fig leaf for a particular agenda. We await a final judgement for the relocation of the Khan al Ahmar outpost in a manner that is consistent with Israel’s national interests.”

The Bedouins of Khan al-Ahmar have expressed interest in relocating to the Arad Valley, which is inside Israel. But Israeli officials have warned that granting residency to the Palestinian Authority residents would set a dangerous precedent.

Outwardly, Bedouin leaders say the evacuation is part of an effort to reduce the PA Arab presence in Jerusalem and that they are ready for a confrontation. But a Bedouin source in Khan al-Ahmar told the Tazpit Press Service earlier in January that there is tension between the Bedouins and the Palestinian Authority.

Content by Pesach Benson/TPS was used in this report.


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