(December 10, 2018 / JNS) It is rare that a blunder of such national significance is so clearly evident. Usually, it is only in hindsight that we recognize and appreciate the magnitude of such a mistake.
However, the case of Khan al-Ahmar is one of these glaring and exceptional policy blunders. Khan al-Ahmar leaves almost all Israelis shaking their heads in disbelief, wondering what could possibly be impeding our government and its leaders from doing the self-apparent right thing on behalf of the nation.
The case of Khan al-Ahmar is not ambiguous. No one claims that the outpost was built legally, nor is in fact legal.
Quite the opposite. The Israeli Supreme Court, a usually reliable validator of Arab construction, has ruled that the outpost was built illegally and must be dismantled. The government has not only approved a new site to house the illegal Bedouin residents, but also has invested an enormous amount in this site.
They have built all the infrastructure necessary for these Bedouin residents to live in the modern world, including connections to clean safe running water and to a sewage system. There is even a new school building. Needless to say, none of this exists at the current illegal outpost.
So what is holding the Israeli government back? Why are not they fulfilling their own promises to raze Khan al-Ahmar when no legal impediments exist, and there is an overwhelming mandate from the citizenry to act?
What makes the government’s non-action all the more disturbing is that it stands in stark contrast with its willingness to destroy Jewish outposts, even when they are of arguable and possible legality. The Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria has been overly vigilant—many would say punitive—when it comes to even insignificant building violations for Jewish homes, even destroying entire homes when only a small fraction of them encroach on disputed private property. In many cases, they have even done this without a court order requiring them to do so.
So, again, why the reluctance, reticence and seeming refusal to move on Khan al-Ahmar? As time passes, more Israelis and other observers are concluding that somehow, our government has been intimidated by the European Union and the various individual European nations that are so invested in seeing a Palestinian state.
These governments have invested millions in legal and illegal Palestinian construction, hoping to create facts on the ground that would both make contiguous Jewish settlement impossible, even in Area C, with the goal of ushering in a Palestinian state.
This is no secret nor mystery. What is mysterious is why the Israeli government does not stand up to it. What Khan al-Ahmar represents is such a blatant unwillingness to assert our own sovereignty as to make us wonder who is in charge.
What makes the situation all the more maddening is that it is crystal-clear that Europe shows complete contempt for Israeli sovereignty, acting as if Israel is a vassal state that exists at the sufferance of the European Union.
It is also clear that they are not our friends. Globalist Europe, especially the European Union, hates the nationalistic construct that Zionism represents, and their sentiments are wholeheartedly in favor of the Palestinians.
Why are we so cowed? Europe will never defend us in international forums nor protect us from Iran. Are we so afraid of the specter of any actions in the International Criminal Court that we have been neutered to act in our own national interests?
The non-action by the Israeli government is not only an embarrassment, but leaves the door wide open for the most far-reaching and negative speculation as to what is really going on. None of it is good, for it ultimately leads one to wonder whether the government is morally abdicating its responsibility to defend the sovereignty of the nation.
As we are taught by Hillel in Ethics of the Fathers: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”
If the government of Israel will not defend Israeli sovereignty, then who will? And if a chest-pounding “nationalist” government is not going to stand up for Israeli sovereignty, then who will do so in the future?
Theodore Roosevelt famously advised to “speak softly and carry a big stick.” When it comes to Khan al-Ahmar, our government has it exactly backwards: talking tough and loudly, while carrying a toothpick.
We are not a nation in exile. It is time for our government to stop cultivating an approval from the E.U. that will never come. It is time for the duly elected government of Israel to implement its own decisions and policies, and immediately dismantle the illegal outpost of Khan al-Ahmar.
The government owes a sacred duty to the people of Israel to defend the sovereignty of the nation. It must immediately assert Israeli sovereignty by clearing and dismantling Khan al-Amar.
Ari Kalker, director of English Programming at Im Tirtzu, is a reservist, husband, father and Jerusalem resident.