Residents of illegal Bedouin outpost threaten violent struggle against evacuation

Khan al-Ahmar residents threatened to respond with violence to any attempt to remove them from their illegally built hamlet.  

By: World Israel News Staff

Residents of the illegal Bedouin hamlet of Khan al Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem, are threatening to violently resist a court order to evacuate the area.

Salem Abu Dabuk, a resident, told IDF Radio on Wednesday that they “will not leave and sit quietly. They [Israel] want to move us to an area which is not suitable for us.”

He also dismissed allegations that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was pressuring the residents to reject any court-arbitrated settlement in order generate more strife.

“We asked the Palestinian Authority to be with us in this battle after the High Court of Justice turned to politics,” he claimed, charging the court of not rendering justice.

The PA is heavily embroiled in the affair and announced Tuesday a new push against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over the slated demolition of the village.

The submission “included a focus on the war crimes facing Khan al-Ahmar, specifically the crimes of forcible displacement, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of civilian property,” said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Last month, the High Court of Justice ordered the demolition of the Bedouin hamlet, saying there was no avoiding its removal. However, the court beseeched both sides to seek an alternative location.

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In May, the court ordered the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar when it agreed with the Civil Administration that no permission had been granted for building the structures that house some 180 residents.

The location of the illegal structures is hazardous due to its proximity to a major highway. Khan al Ahmar is adjacent to and overlooks the road that connects Jerusalem to the south of Israel in a strategic area that bisects the country.

The state has offered alternative sites for the residents to relocate with an emphasis on keeping the community intact, but the Bedouins have rejected all of them and any other compromises on the issue.

The Jahalin Bedouin is an offshoot of a larger tribe based in southern Israel, in the Arad region. After a blood feud erupted within the tribe in the 1970s, some of the families were forced out and migrated north through the Judean desert, arriving and settling in their present location after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Their battle for the land is part of a PA- and European Union-orchestrated program of building strategically located outposts that undermine the basis of the Oslo Accords and create facts on the ground.

Diplomats from Sweden, France, Great Britain and Australia attended the court hearing. Several countries have voiced support for the Bedouins against the State of Israel.