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Stared down by the PA over Khan al-Ahmar, Netanyahu blinks

This recent decision reeks of cowardice and makes a laughingstock of Israel’s sovereignty and commitment to law and order.

Israeli police scuffle with Palestinian demonstrators in the Bedouin village of al-Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, on July 4, 2018. Photo by Flash90.
Israeli police scuffle with Palestinian demonstrators in the Bedouin village of al-Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, on July 4, 2018. Photo by Flash90.
Naomi Kahn
Naomi Kahn is director of the International Division of Regavim, a research-based think tank and lobbying group dedicated to preserving Israel’s resources and sovereignty.

For more than a decade, Regavim has been at the forefront of the legal battle to protect the Adumim Region and to evacuate the illegal outpost known a Khan al-Ahmar. This

, abutting Israel’s Highway #1 and only a few miles outside of Jerusalem, was created by the Palestinian Authority as the flagship enterprise of the Fayyad Plan to create a Palestinian State in Area C—without negotiation or compromise, and in violation of the Oslo Accords.

In five separate rounds of Supreme Court hearings, the specious claims of the Bedouin’s P.A.-funded lawyers were rejected. Nonetheless, Israel, at the expense of Israeli taxpayers, has created a legal, modern alternative settlement for the residents of Khan al-Ahmar, but the P.A. and its European bankrollers have rejected all compromise.

On Saturday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his decision to postpone the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar indefinitely. In his words, more time is needed to explore compromise solutions.

Regavim has another name for this “consideration”: shameful capitulation.

For years, Netanyahu has implemented a policy of selective law enforcement against Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. This recent decision reeks of cowardice and makes a laughingstock of Israel’s sovereignty and commitment to law and order.

Whereas Israeli court decisions regarding Amona and Ofra, in Beit El and in Netiv Ha’avot, were implemented to the letter—and the State of Israel acted in a manner befitting a sovereign, democratic, law-abiding state—in the case of the Palestinian Authority’s flagship outpost, Netanyahu has cold feet.

If, in fact, Netanyahu allows the P.A. to dictate the “compromise” that has been floated in the press and relocate this outpost a few hundred meters north of its current location, the Israeli prime minister will pave the way for the creation of a hostile state in Area C with his own two hands.

Granting official sanction to a Palestinian settlement in this strategically critical area will undermine the Oslo Accords, create irreversible facts on the ground, and erode Israel’s control of one of the most important links in the chain of territorial contiguity.

The blame for this stinging defeat in the battle for Area C will be Netanyahu’s lasting legacy of shame. He cannot shift the blame in the direction of the Supreme Court; he will have no one to blame but himself.

Naomi Kahn is director of the International Division of Regavim, a research-based think tank and lobbying group dedicated to preserving Israel’s resources and sovereignty.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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