Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced Sunday he intends to “examine” the diplomatic implications of evicting residents of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, while the state asked the High Court of Justice for another two-month delay as talks between Israeli authorities and Palestinian residents continue.
Pigging out in Jerusalem: Did ancient Israelites really eat pork?
Khan al-Ahmar is home to dozens of Bedouin families from the Jahalin tribe, who were expelled from the Negev following Israel's inception in 1948.
In 2018, the High Court cleared the way for the demolition of the village, with its residents garnering international support, including from the International Criminal Court. Fatou Bensouda, then the ICC’s prosecutor, said that evicting the residents may constitute a war crime and that she would not hesitate to take action if needed.
In his Sunday notice to Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo, Lapid argued the evacuation could harm Israel’s diplomatic relations, potentially signaling a government decision to leave Khan al-Ahmar’s residents there. This would contradict campaign promises made by members of some right-wing parties currently part of the ruling coalition.
“The compound’s evacuation involves a number of weighty challenges, both domestically and internationally, and could therefore lead to many political consequences,” Lapid wrote. “Given that the new government was formed recently, and therefore has not yet been able to examine the issue in depth independently and not relying on the conclusions of the previous government, and considering that this is a particularly sensitive issue,” he wanted to conduct an in-depth review of the legal and diplomatic ramifications of demolishing the village.
- Israel floats plan to relocate West Bank Bedouin communities to nearby site
- Israel postpones demolition of West Bank Bedouin village amid coronavirus crisis
- Israeli top court slams state's 'embarrassing' request to delay Khan al-Ahmar eviction hearing
On Thursday, the state asked the High Court for another extension before it finally submits its position on a 2019 petition by right-wing Israeli NGO Regavim asking the court to order a timetable for the eviction. The new deadline proposed by the state is September 14.