Sa’ar: Gov’t fears the Hague, won’t demolish illegal Arab village to appease ICC

Netanyahu’s party rival claimed that an illegal Bedouin village called Khan al-Ahmar has not been razed because the Israeli government is afraid of repercussions from the International Criminal Court.

By World Israel News Staff

On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu’s primary challenger for party leadership, Gideon Sa’ar, accused the Israeli government of failing to demolish an illegal Bedouin village because it is “afraid of the Hague.”

Sa’ar posted the comments to Twitter after Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that razing the village might serve as “the last straw” for the International Criminal Court, which recently announced it plans to probe alleged “war crimes” committed by Israel. Katz made the comments on Kan public radio.

While the illegal village in question, Khan al-Ahmar, was previously approved for demolition by the High Court of Justice, no action has been taken, notwithstanding Netanyahu’s vows to evacuate the village.

In response to Katz’s comments, Sa’ar tweeted, “There was no reason to delay the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar. Today we found out [the reason for the delay]: The Israeli government is afraid of the Hague. It also explains [Israel’s] lack of leverage [with regard to] Palestinian takeover of Area C in recent years.”

Sa’ar added, “A change is needed and will happen in four days,” an apparent reference to the upcoming Likud leadership contest f in which Sa’ar intends to take Netanyahu on.

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In September 2018, the High Court of Justice rejected the fifth petition filed by the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, stating that there was no reason to prevent the implementation of the judgment handed down in June 2018 which cleared the way for demolition of the illegal structures.

In January 2019, Meir Deutsch, CEO of the Regavim organization, accused Netanyahu of kowtowing to “meddling” European diplomats by delaying demolition of the village.

“The fact that many months have passed since Netanyahu decided to postpone the implementation of the High Court of Justice’s ruling, together with the statement by [British Government spokesman in the Middle East and North Africa Edwin Samuel] that his government is working to thwart the Israeli government’s decision, clearly demonstrates that Netanyahu is giving the British the feeling that the British Mandate is not over yet.”

The Jahalin Bedouin, the residents of Kahn Al-Ahmar, are an offshoot of a larger tribe based in southern Israel. After a blood feud which occurred within the tribe in the 1970s, some of the families were forced out and migrated north, arriving and settling in their present location after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The location of the illegal structures is hazardous due to its proximity to Highway 1, a major transportation artery. Khan al Ahmar overlooks the road that connects Jerusalem to the south of Israel in a strategic area.

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TPS contributed to this report.