Supreme Court slams Netanyahu gov’t for delaying demolition of illegal Arab settlement near Jerusalem

“Khan al Ahmar is more than a collection of makeshift shacks and tents. It is the flagship of a systematic, well-funded program of annexation by the Palestinian Authority,” a Regavim spokesperson told World Israel News.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

The High Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that a hearing on the eviction of the illegal Bedouin settlement of Khan al-Ahmar will take place on May 1. 

In addition, it announced that the State must submit its response by April 2.

The justices had ordered the submission of a plan to dismantle the village on February 1, but for the ninth time, the government has requested an extension.

The court also fined the State 20,000 shekels for failing to meet the deadline.

Khan al-Ahmar  is located on state land in Area C, about 10 kilometers east of Jerusalem, between the communities of Adumim and Mishor Adumim.

Built without an Israeli permit, it was originally slated for demolition in 2018. The Supreme Court has ruled that the buildings there are illegal and has approved a demolition order against them several times.

Most recently, on Feb. 1, the Netanyahu government requested a four-month extension for submitting its response to the Supreme Court ruling demanding the implementation of demolition orders against the illegal settlement.

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Right-wing Internal Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and other lawmakers, including from Netanyahu’s Likud party, have demanded that the settlement be relocated. However, the prime minister is again delaying any action, apparently in response to pressure from the Biden administration as well as for security reasons.

It was the ninth request for an extension since the original petition was submitted in 2019.

Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg harshly criticized the government’s latest response.

“Looking back, and looking forward, none of this justifies such a long postponement, for another four months. In particular, when it is not possible to know whether the current request for an extension is the last…

“We expressed our displeasure with the ‘foot dragging’ over and over again, in a long series of decisions,” he said.

Sohlberg noted that while the government has repeatedly stated its intention to relocate the settlement, its actions have shown otherwise.

“The Supreme Court is once again covering for the government’s failure to formulate and enforce comprehensive policy or vision for Judea and Samaria,” Naomi Linder Kahn, international director of Regavim, an Israeli NGO that monitors illegal Arabb construction, told World Israel News.

“Our original petition for the removal of the illegal outpost known as Khan al Ahmar went to court over 13 years ago – and ever since, we have been attempting to shake the Israeli government out of its reverie,” she said.

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“Khan al Ahmar is more than a collection of makeshift shacks and tents. It is the flagship of a systematic, well-funded program of annexation by the Palestinian Authority. As such, it has also become a flashpoint of international subversion of Israel’s national interests and sovereignty.

“The time has come for the State of Israel to grow up, to stand up, and to take itself seriously. Otherwise, no one else can be expected to do so,” Kahn stated.