Israel postpones evacuation of West Bank Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar

The forced evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank will be delayed until further notice, Israel said on Saturday.

The government is holding off to exhaust negotiations and proposals received from various sources, including some in the past few days, people in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told Haaretz,

Security forces have said in recent days that they are ready to evacuate the village and are waiting for instructions to do so, Haaretz said.

Regavim, a pro-settler Israeli NGO that had initially pushed the plan for displacement of the Bedouin, issued a statement lamenting the decision and calling it capitulation to the Palestinian Authority.

Walid Assaf, head of the National Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements, speaking at a news conference in the protest tent at the village said: “We don’t trust the Israeli decision to freeze the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and we will continue our protests to protect the area.”

Israel’s High Court of Justice on 5 September rejected petitions filed by village residents, paving the way for the eviction of the community and demolition of the entire village. 

Khan Al-Ahmar is located in the occupied West Bank near Route 1, which connects occupied East Jerusalem to the Jordan valley. The village is near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim.

The residents of Khan Al-Ahmar are from the Jahalin tribe, a Bedouin family expelled from the Naqab desert – also referred to as the Negev – during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Jahalin then settled on the eastern slopes of Jerusalem.

The Khan al-Ahmar community comprises of about 35 families whose makeshift homes and schools, mostly made of corrugated metal and wood, have been demolished by the Israeli army several times in past years.


Khan al-Ahmar: Israel’s top court approves demolition of Palestinian village

The village had been built on state-owned land and its houses were constructed without permits, Haaretz said.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said in a statement after the court ruling that “Palestinians cannot build legally and are excluded from the decision-making mechanisms that determine how their lives will look. The planning systems are intended solely for the benefit of the [Israeli] settlers. This ruling shows once again that those under occupation cannot seek justice in the occupier’s courts”.

Israel said in July it plans to relocate the 180 residents of Khan Al-Ahmar to an area about 12km away, near the Palestinian village of Abu Dis. But the new site is adjacent to a landfill, and rights advocates say that a forcible transfer of the residents would violate international law applying to occupied territories.

Court Justices Hanan Melcer, Yitzhak Amit and Anat Baron said the main issue in the case was not whether the eviction could be carried out, but where the residents would be relocated, Haaretz noted.

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