Israeli groups demand Netanyahu dismantle Khan al-Amar

The coalition of pro-Israel groups demanded that Netanyahu, “Dismantle Khan al-Ahmar now.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A coalition of leading pro-Israel groups in Israel held a joint press conference on Wednesday in which they called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to proceed with the dismantling of the illegal outpost Khan al-Ahmar.

Protesting the government’s foot-dragging, they demanded the immediate application of the law, particularly given growing doubts about the government’s long-term viability, and the subsequent fear that any more delay in evacuating the residents would lead to the illegal encampment becoming permanent.

Matan Peleg, head of Im Tirtzu, a group which works to instill Zionist values among Israelis, said that the village was a case study of what could happen in the future if the State of Israel wasn’t alert to the dangers inherent in not applying the law.

He said “a strategic point along Route 1 that for all intents and purposes has been conquered” by the Palestinian Authority, referring to the fact that Khan al-Amar lies on a vulnerable transportation axis. PLO flags fly at the village and the Bedouin block the highway, which leads to Jerusalem, whenever they want, he noted.

“This land grab was done in a process, in broad daylight, using political means and not tanks or attack tunnels,” he said, adding that the government is “not capable of evacuating it even after the court order.”

If the postponement of the demolition continues, he said, the PA will use the same tactics again and again to seize more sovereign Israeli territory, which is the prime minister’s duty to prevent.

Attorney Eran Ben-Ari, an expert on law in Judea and Samaria, said that the government promised the Supreme Court, which has ordered the illegal outpost demolished, that it would remove Khan al-Amar in June, meaning that for six months the state itself has been in breach of its commitment.

“This is a severe blow to the credibility of the state and the rule of law,” he said.

Israelis had been forcibly evacuated from their homes numerous times due to court orders with only a promise that the state would provide alternate locations, he said. While in this case, an area has already been set aside for the villagers.

The coalition, which views the continued existence of Khan al-Ahmar as imperiling the country. agreed that despite the major security challenges facing Israel in both the north and south, its demolition must be a priority for Israel’s government

“Khan al-Ahmar is the cornerstone for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the doorstep of Jerusalem,” said Yishai Hemo, field coordinator for Judea and Samaria for Regavim, a group dealing with land issues, and which has led a years-long legal battle against the illegal outpost.