Israel Postpones Evacuation of Contested West Bank Village Khan al-Ahmar Until Further Notice

Sources in Netanyahu's office tell Haaretz the decision was made in order to look into different offers that were made before forcefully evicting residents ■ Security forces have reiterated in recent days that they are ready to clear out the village

Khan al-Ahmar.
MOHAMAD TOROKMAN\Reuters

The evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar will be delayed until further notice, sources in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office told Haaretz Saturday.

The government is holding off on evacuating the contested West Bank Bedouin village in order to exhaust negotiations and proposals received from various sources, including some in the past few days, sources in the prime minister's office said.

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Security forces have said in recent days that they are ready to evacuate the village and are waiting for instructions to do so.

However, sources told Haaretz in the past week and Saturday evening, that the order is being delayed without explanation.

>> Explained: Everything You Need to Know About the West Bank Bedouin Village at the Eye of a Diplomatic Storm

The police and the Civil Administration didn't receive orders to leave the area, and in recent days, access roads to heavy vehicles have been re-paved.

Last week, Haaretz learned that Jerusalem was aware of unusual diplomatic statements by both the European Union and the chief prosecutor of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and estimated that the evacuation would take place after the UN security council meeting to take place on Thursday. 

In September, the High Court of Justice denied a petition filed by the residents of Khan al-Ahmar and gave the state the green light to evacuate the entire village.

The village had been built on state-owned land and its houses were constructed without permits.

Justices Hanan Melcer, Yitzhak Amit and Anat Baron said the main issue in the case was not whether the eviction could be carried out, but where the residents would be relocated.

The Bedouin village is close to Route 1 in the area of Kfar Adumim. It is home to a few dozen families from the Jahalin tribe, which was expelled from its home in the Negev to the West Bank in the 1950s.

Aerial photographs and testimony by villagers show that the residents wandered within the Jerusalem-Jericho region before gradually establishing permanent residence in Khan al-Ahmar, apparently in or around the 1970s. Khan al-Ahmar is just one of a number of villages that are home to the Jahalin