Israel delays demolition of Bedouin West Bank village amid reported relocation deal

Pauline Gross
October 23, 2018

The relief granted will be determined by the security cabinet, which is to meet later Sunday, said the israeli Prime minister.

A Sunday statement from Netanyahu's office said the intention was "to give a chance to the negotiations and the offers we received from different bodies, including in recent days" about Khan al-Ahmar. An official statement by the Cabinet read, "In accordance with the recommendation of professional elements, the Security Cabinet has granted an extension of several weeks in order to exhaust the negotiations for evacuation by agreement".

The Israeli government has maintained that Khan al-Ahmar, which is primarily built out of tin structures and tents, was erected without Israeli-issued building permits on so-called "state lands", which are almost impossible to obtain, and it was therefore "illegal" and subject to demolition.

The fate of Khan al-Ahmar has drawn worldwide concern after Israel said it planned to raze the village, a ramshackle camp housing 180 residents. "This is the decision of the court, this is our policy and it will be implemented".

He described the excessive use of force by the army as "vicious and criminal", and added that the "popular resistance will continue in al-Khan al-Ahmar, and will prove the unity between occupied Jerusalem, the ongoing Great Return March processions in Gaza, and the struggle from breaking the deadly Israeli siege".

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"In our opinion, this will be worse than letting them stay", Kahn said, referring to the reported proposal. Israeli authorities have been expected to send in bulldozers at any time after an October 1 deadline for the villagers to demolish their own homes expired.

Activists say it was established without permits after the Jahalin Bedouin tribe, originally from the Negev desert, were expelled from the area by the Israeli military in the 1950's and then again from Kfar Adumim, where they leased land.

Israel plans to relocate the residents of Khan al-Ahmar to a site 12 kilometers away, near the Palestinian village of Abu Dis and adjacent to a landfill site.

Besides the obvious discrimination in favor of Arab settlers when it comes to High Court of Justice demolition orders (the court has ruled a number of times to raze the illegal shantytown), Smotrich argues that even should the Bedouin move peacefully 500 yards northward, it would still constitute a serious damage to the Israeli interest in the area, by promoting a contiguous Arab settlement from north to south, facilitating the establishment of a Palestinian State and the creation of a barrier between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

The community in Al-Khan Al-Ahmar is one of the 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank that the United Nations considers at risk of forcible transfer, which is defined as a war crime under global law.

Other reports by GizPress

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