(January 23, 2023 / JNS) There is no disputing the illegality of the Bedouin outpost of Khan al-Ahmar on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.
Its residents unlawfully built a housing complex on Israeli state-owned land without a permit and in full knowledge of their violation. They engaged in this prohibited activity with the illegal funding and backing of the European Union, various European countries and international organizations.
This subversive involvement of international entities in Israel’s domestic affairs is outrageous and demands immediate explanation. These international actors are engaging in the violation of Israeli state law, Israeli sovereignty and international law.
This was made explicit in an E.U. document leaked at the end of 2022 titled, “European Joint Development Programme for Area C.” This paper illustrated how far the E.U. was willing to go to aid and abet illegal construction in a foreign country. The paper affirmed that, despite the illegality of such construction, the E.U. would “protect the rights” of Palestinians living in Israeli-controlled Area C, provide legal aid and ultimately assist in the creation of a Palestinian Authority-ruled territory.
Aside from the illegal construction and violations of both Israeli and international law, the building of illegal outposts like Khan al-Ahmar damages local heritage sites, ravages the natural landscape and devastates nature. In addition, it is part of an ulterior agenda that seeks to delegitimize Israel’s historical claim to its own land.
Despite the Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on the case in 2018, the demolition of the illegal Khan al-Ahmar outpost has been delayed year after year for over a decade. As such, the squatters on this land have had over 10 years to take their case to court, yet each time it has been ruled that their illegal constructions should be removed. With the encouragement of illicit international partners and in response to P.A. pressure, they have rejected every offer of resettlement and housing.
Just as there is speedy demolition of illegal Jewish outposts, such as the recent evacuation of Or Haim, which occurred mere hours after the order was issued, the same action must be taken regarding illegal Arab sites such as Khan al-Ahmar. We must respect the authority and decision of the Supreme Court. There should be no selective law enforcement. The law is the law and must be applied to all citizens and communities, Jews and Arabs alike.
On Feb. 1, 2023, the state must give its response to the Supreme Court detailing its plans to demolish the illegal structures. The time has come to act and we must act now without delay. Unlawful behavior should not be appeased. We must move swiftly to carry out the evacuation and demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.
Danny Danon is a senior member of Israel’s ruling Likud party. He served as Israel’s 17th permanent representative to the United Nations and is currently chairman of the World Likud.
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