High Court freezes demolition of illegal Bedouin village

The stay was ordered even though the court itself had ordered the demolition in May.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Late Thursday night, Israel’s Supreme Court granted an emergency petition and suspended the demolition of a Bedouin hamlet that existed illegally for decades near the Jewish city of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem.

The order was given despite the fact that in May, the court itself had ordered the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar when it agreed with the Civil Administration that no permission had been granted for building the structures housing 180 residents.

The temporary injunction gives the state until July 11 to respond to the charge that the Civil Administration had never evaluated any plan by the residents to legalize the village or offered them a plan of its own.

Israel, however, did offer an alternative site for the residents in the nearby town of Abu Dis, but the villagers claim that it is not suitable to their way of life and that Palestinians in the town have warned them not to come.

On Wednesday, violent clashes broke out between police and Khan al-Ahmar residents and their supporters, who were trying to stop bulldozers from widening the road leading to the village. During the confrontation, PLO flags were flown and rocks thrown at the authorities. Police said 11 arrests were made.

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On Thursday, diplomats from half a dozen European countries, including France and Italy, tried to visit the school which was built in the illegal village with EU money, but were prevented from entering, as the area had been declared a closed military zone.

France shows ‘solidarity’ with illegal village

The EU has violated Israeli law on a consistent basis by openly funding illegal construction all over Area C – according to the Oslo Accords, under Israeli administration – in places where Palestinians have been trying to establish ‘facts on the ground’ by settling in open areas without permission .

The envoys came “to show our solidarity with this village which is threatened with destruction, for humanitarian reasons and because it is a major issue of international law,” the Israel-based French consul-general stated at the scene.

The EU also says that by removing the Bedouin village and allowing Jewish construction there instead, Israel is ensuring that there will be no contiguity of land needed to establish an eventual Palestinian state.

Several Israeli politicians have repeatedly declared the necessity of building in the area, known as E1, to connect nearby Maale Adumim to Jerusalem, yet it has never been done, apparently due to international pressure.

Over the years, European diplomats have vehemently condemned any move by Israel to legalize Jewish towns and villages in the area.