Israel delays demolition of West Bank Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar

Israel’s High Court of Justice had ruled that there was no legal barrier to the demolition of the village, but that it preferred to see a negotiated resolution.

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October 20, 2018 23:22
2 minute read.

Palestinians celebrate after Israel delays eviction of West Bank Bedouin village, October 21, 2018 (Reuters)

Palestinians celebrate after Israel delays eviction of West Bank Bedouin village, October 21, 2018 (Reuters)

 
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Israel has decided to indefinitely delay the forced evacuation of the illegally built West Bank herding village of Khan al-Ahmar.

News of the delay was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s office said in response that he opposed the delay and that the decision was taken in spite of his “resolute opposition.”

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that the intention now was to negotiate with the residents of Khan al-Ahmar and to look at some of the proposals that have raised.

The international community, particularly the European Union and its member states, have called on Israel not to evacuate the village of some 180 Jahalin Bedouin that is located near Route 1, just below the Kfar Adumim settlement.

On Wednesday the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda warned Israel that the forced relocation of the village was “war crime,”

She said, “I have been following with concern the planned eviction of the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, in the West Bank.  Evacuation by force now appears imminent, and with it the prospects for further escalation and violence.”

“It bears recalling, as a general matter, that extensive destruction of property without military necessity and population transfers in an occupied territory constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute,” she said.

Israel’s High Court of Justice had ruled that there was no legal barrier to the demolition of the village, but that it preferred to see a negotiated resolution.

Right wing politicians and activists immediately condemned the delay and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to rescind it.


MK Moti Yogev (the Jewish Home) decried Netanyahu’s “unprecedented laxity” and said that the delay should last more than two weeks.

“International criticism is not a reason to give up on our sovereignty and our laws,” said Yogev who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee sub-group on Judea and Samaria. He plans to discuss the matter with the sub group on November 1.

MK Bezalel Smotrich noted ironically, “tell me again that we have a right wing government.”

He said he planned to join a protest event at Khan al-Ahmar at 5 p.m. on Monday, led by the right-wing NGO Regavim. “I call on all coalition member to joint the our rather than vote in the Knesset. We will tour the place and together we will try to grow a spine.

Regavim called the delay a "Shameful capitulation."

"For years, Prime Minister Netanyahu has implemented a policy of selective law enforcement against Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. Tonight's decision reeks of cowardice and makes a laughingstock of Israel's sovereignty and commitment to law and order.”

“If the Prime Minister does not come to his senses quickly, the blame for this stinging defeat in the battle for Area C and the capitulation to the Palestinian Authority's hostile takeover will be Netanyahu's lasting legacy of shame. The Prime Minister cannot shift the blame in the direction of the Supreme Court; he has no one to blame but himself,” Regavim said.

Repeated clashes have broken out at Khan al-Ahmar over the last week, as the IDF completed road work so that it could more easily demolish the village’s tents and shacks. On Friday border police peppered sprayed protestors. On Thursday Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah made a solidarity visit to the village.

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