The Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar rejected a state plan to relocate its 52 families to an area east of the Mitzpe Yeriho settlement.The families “reject the plan of the State of Israel and wish to continue living in Al Khan al-Ahmar,” their attorney Tawfiq Jabareen said on Tuesday.He issued a statement to the media after the state submitted a response to the High Court of Justice that named a relocation site 8.5 km. away from the village’s current location, just off Route 1 near the Kfar Adumim settlement.The Khan al-Ahmar families had already rejected a state plan to relocate them to the nearby West Bank Palestinian town of Abu Dis. The state has set aside land plots for them in a neighborhood called Jahalin West.
The state told the court Tuesday it would provide 60 m. tents on those lots for families which willingly relocated. The families would then move a second time to the new site.The three judges, who heard the case last week, said the village, built illegally on state land, would need to be relocated and asked the state to provide an alternative to Jahalin West.Jabareen has five days to respond to the state’s plan. He has already told the media the site near the Palestinian city of Jericho, would “provide solutions for four communities of the Abu Dahouk clan of the Jahalin tribe.”“This proves that the plan of the State of Israel is to evacuate all Palestinian Bedouin and move them near Area A, in order to expand the Jewish settlements in places that will be emptied of Palestinians,” Jabareen said.Jabareen has told the court the village is actually located on private Palestinian land and it is still registered in the name of those landowners.He has petitioned the court to insure the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria considers a master plan that would legalize the village at its current location and provide for permanent homes.Jabareen’s argument is that the state cannot evacuate people from private Palestinian property. In addition, a private master plan could not have been submitted earlier because it was considered state land.The state’s attorney Ran Rosenberg argued in his written statement to the court Tuesday the land had been considered abandoned property since 1975, and it was not possible to argue 40 years later that this was not the case.The acceptance of such an argument would set a dangerous precedent for other land cases, Rosenberg said.Jabareen’s argument is a last-ditch effort to save the village, which the High Court of Justice had previously ruled could be demolished.The IDF is not expected to move against the village until Jabareen submits his own response to the court within five days, and the judges have issued a ruling.But that ruling could be handed down fairly soon after his submission.The international community and the European Union have pressured Israel not to take down the village, with many of its diplomats making visits to the community. On Tuesday, British Deputy Consul General Alison Hall made a trip to Khan al-Ahmar and called on Israel to find a way for the families to remain on the site.
Court hearing on Khan al-Ahmar, August 1, 2018 (Daphna Krause)