Israel Postpones Eviction of West Bank Bedouin Village of Khan al-Ahmar Until December

State tells High Court of Justice nothing would move at least till mid-December, when new government is formed

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Israeli forces detain a Palestinian man as they protest against Israel's plan to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, in the West Bank September 14, 2018.
Israeli forces detain a Palestinian man as they protest against Israel's plan to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, in the West Bank September 14, 2018. Credit: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters

The eviction of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar will be postponed until at least mid-December, the state told the High Court of Justice on Sunday.

Its brief said the delay was necessary because there isn’t likely to be a new government until next fall, given that April’s election failed to produce one and a do-over election has been called for September.

“The timing of the eviction will be set by the government, with attention to all the necessary considerations,” it added.

The state was responding to a petition filed by the right-wing organization Regavim. The petition asked the court to order the government to justify its refusal to carry out the demolition order against Khan al-Ahmar, and set a timetable for the eviction.

>> The eviction of Khan al-Ahmar stinks up to high heaven | Opinion

The state also asked the court to give it until December 16 to respond to this petition, since whatever new government is formed will need time to consider its decision. It added that the current transitional government supports this request, as confirmed by an affidavit from acting cabinet secretary Ronen Peretz.

Regavim opposed the request for an extension. In its response to the state’s brief, it argued that the government has already had plenty of time to consider its position – “to be precise, 10 years and five previous petitions submitted over the past decade.” It also noted that the government has pledged in the past to demolish the village, demonstrating that it has already formulated its opinion.

“With all due respect, the law is the law, and it must be followed regardless of any considerations by the government,” the response added.

In a television interview three days before April’s election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked why he hadn’t yet razed Khan al-Ahmar. “It will be done very soon,” he responded. “I promised, and it will be done extremely soon.”

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