beduin solar panels.
(photo credit: Courtesy Rabbis for Human Rights)
The civil administration on Wednesday confiscated 11 solar panels from the West Bank Beduin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar, located off of Route 1 between the settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim and Kfar Adumim.
The encampment of temporary structures lacks electricity and its residents are in the midst of a legal battle with the state, which wants to demolish their homes.
In the meantime, residents installed solar collectors to provide some electric power.
The civil administration said that in the interim no changes can be made to the structures. It charged that no permits had been sought for the panels and as a result, they were confiscated.
The High Court of Justice has insisted that the encampment cannot be demolished without an alternative housing arrangement. It expects that the state will want to relocate the encampment to a new city to house area Beduin that it is planning to construct near the Palestinian city of Jericho.
Attorney Shlomo Lecker, who represents the encampment, charged that the civil administration acted illegally in confiscating the panels and has complained about the matter to the IDF’s Advocate-General for Judea and Samaria.
“This is simply harassment,” he said. No permits are needed for the small panels, he said, which allow residents to light their homes for a few hours.
These are not people who have done anything illegal, he said, noting their encampment has been there since the 1950s.
The state’s attempts to demolish it, Leker said, has made it internationally famous and it has received many visitors from the international community, including foreign ministers.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights, who was called to the scene, said that neither he nor Lecker had any immediate legal recourse to halt the confiscation. He tried to reason with the border police and police who were there to secure the operation. At one point, he read them an interpretation of the Exodus from the 19th century Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, who spoke of the abuse of power.
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