Israeli High Court again delays expulsion of Palestinians from Khan Al-Ahmar

Israeli High Court again delays expulsion of Palestinians from Khan Al-Ahmar
A far-right, settler-aligned group has appealed to the Israeli High Court to have Palestinians expelled from their land.
3 min read
22 July, 2021
Khan al-Ahmar's residents were previously forced from the Naqab in the years after the 1948 Nakba [Getty]

The expulsion of Palestinians from a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank has again been pushed back by Israel's High Court.

Israel applied for an extension of two months while discussions with Khan Al-Ahmar locals, who belong to the Jahalin tribe, proceed, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

The Palestinians moved to the area after being forced from the Naqab, or Negev, desert in the years after the mass ethnic cleansing that occurred when Israel was created in 1948.

Israel's application was lodged last Thursday ahead of the authorities needing to provide their view on the far-right, settler-aligned Regavim group's request that the High Court compel the expulsion to proceed.

While Israeli authorities had suggested a 14 September cut-off date, they were only afforded to 5 September following multiple petitions for extensions in the past.

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, co-director of the Palestinian-registered non-profit Jahalin Solidarity, told The New Arab the delay is a common part of the Israeli legal process.

She said it is not a shock that it happened during the religious holiday period and called for those living at Khan Al-Ahmar to be allowed to remain in their homes.

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This decision comes after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday said the Khan Al-Ahmar expulsion should be reassessed, given the global political consequences the move could bring.

There were 173 Palestinians residing in Khan Al-Ahmar in 2018, according to Israeli rights NGO B'Tselem.

The organisation added that the motive of removing Palestinians from their homes is to provide space for the growing nearby illegal settlement of Maale Adumim.

The area's fate is emblematic of the hardship Palestinians face in Area C, the section of the West Bank that Israel maintains full power over under the Oslo Accords despite legally being Palestinian land.

Jahalin Solidarity's Godfrey-Goldstein said that 300,000 Palestinians are living in Area C "with no civil rights at all".

Israel considers Khan Al-Ahmar to be on land belonging to it and lacks the necessary Civil Administration permits for its construction. This is despite the fact such permits are notoriously difficult to come. The area is considered, under international law. as occupied Palestinian territory.

From 2010 to 2014, only 1.5 percent of all applications by Palestinians for building permits in the West Bank were approved by Israel, according to the United Nations.

The levelling of Khan Al-Ahmar has previously been green-lit by the High Court.

Locals received the backing of the International Criminal Court and NGOs to remain on their land in response to their expulsion being given the nod back in 2018.

The Hague-based court's prosecutor at the time, Fatou Bensouda, argued that expelling the villagers could count as a war crime.

She insisted that, if required, she would respond.