Activists protest in front of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.
(photo credit: MUSSA QAWASMA / REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice has given the state until June 16 to explain its failure to evacuate the illegal West Bank herding village of Khan al-Ahmar.
The state had initially been scheduled to provide a written response to the court by May 1, but had asked for a delay until July 28.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly promised voters he would demolish the village that is home to 180 members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe. His comments also refer to an elementary school, known as the Tyre School, that is next to the village.
The state in response to a petition filed by the right-wing NGO Regavim has now said that any evacuation must now be delayed.
“Given that it is after the general elections and in advance of the creation of a new government, we are asking for additional time to file a response so as to allow the political echelon time to address the issue in the petition,” the state the court.
Right-wing activists and politicians have long attempted to pressure the government to remove the encampment of tents and metal shacks located off Route 1 near the Kfar Adumim settlement.
The High Court of Justice had previously ruled last summer that the village could be evacuated, but did not demand that the state do so.
Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman had instructed the IDF to evacuate the village in October, but was asked by Netanyahu to delay the matter after the International Criminal Court had warned that the demolition could constitute a war crime.
Regavim petitioned the HCJ in late March on the matter. It said on Friday that it opposed the delay, particularly given that six petitions have been filed against the community in the last 10 years.
“There is no justification to further postponement the execution of the State’s declarations that it intends to enforcement the law there,” Regavim said.
The Jahalin Bedouin first settled the site in the 1970s and the community has insisted that it wants to remain in that location.
It has rejected two alternative relocation proposals from the state, one next to a garbage dump and the other adjoining a sewage treatment plant.
Regavim has argued that the community is a Palestinian Authority “flagship” project and is part of its plan to gain control of Area C of the West Bank.
Its demolition, Regavim argued, “is one of the first test cases for the incoming government.”
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