The High Court of Justice on Thursday approved the state’s request to postpone its response to the Regavim movement’s sixth petition regarding the eviction and demolition of the illegal outpost of Khan al-Ahmar.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated in recent months that Khan al Ahmar would be evacuated “very soon,” and on the eve of the elections he repeated this promise numerous more times, but now, having been elected with the votes of the settler community, he now wants to postpone the implementation of the court ruling at least until after the establishment of his next coalition government.
Khan al-Ahmar is an illegal Bedouin outpost half way between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority with help from the European Union, have established the outpost without permission from Israel, although it is located entirely within the Israeli-controlled part of Judea and Samaria.
Whomever controls Khan al-Ahmar controls the future of a Palestinian State, since the illegal outpost, with a transient population of less 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, 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 elections, demanding that the state explain why it had not implement the clear demolition ruling, in contradiction of statements made by the state before the High Court of Justice that the illegal outpost be evacuated and demolished by June 2018, followed by a promise to do it by the end of September 2018.
The state was required to respond to the Regavim petition by the end of this week, but requested a postponement until the end of July, arguing that “since we are at present after the general elections to the Knesset, and before a new government has been established, Respondents request another period of time to file a proper response in such a way as to allow the political echelon time to address the issue that is the subject of the petition.”
Regavim attorneys Avi Segal and Yael Sinmon vehemently opposed the request for postponement, noting that “this is the sixth petition in ten years during which the matter has been heard before the High Court of Justice. There is no justification for a further postponement of the implementation of the State’s declarations that it intends to enforce the law over there.”
Judge Anat Baron stated that, given the petitioner’s objection, the state will be able to postpone its response for another five weeks – rather than two months.
Yachin Zik, director of activities at Regavim, emphasizes that “Khan al-Ahmar is not only an illegal outpost whose demolition orders have been pending for many years, it also constitutes the flagship project of the Palestinian Authority’s illegal takeover of [Israeli owned] Area C.”