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Supreme Court upholds the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar

Judges urged the state to find a more amenable solution for residents, at which point the state offered to erect Bedouin tents for residents at the government’s expense, and connect them to water and electricity.

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.

Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday decided that the illegally erected Bedouin town of Khan al-Ahmar will face demolition, and encouraged the state to try to find a new location for the residents.

The court ordered the town, primarily comprised of shacks and tents along the highway next to Kfar Adumim, demolished in May, but residents and pro-Palestinian supporters protested the move in international news.

Officials from 10 European governments subsequently arrived in the town, with pro-Palestinian groups and politicians attempting to apply pressure to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the destruction.

The approximately 180 residents have rejected moving next to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis, saying they want to live in a rural area.

Judges on Wednesday urged the state to find a more amenable solution for residents, at which point the state offered to erect the Bedouin tents for residents at the government’s expense, as well as connecting them to water and electricity.

The state also offered residents an alternative site east of Mitzpe Jericho, but the residents rejected it.

However, the court told the state to submit a new alternative proposal for housing the residents east of Mitzpe Jericho within five days.

Ironically, destruction of Jewish buildings and communities have drawn the most criticism over Israel’s policy of dismantling illegal buildings. In June, Israel destroyed 15 houses in the Netiv Ha’Avot neighborhood of Elazar in Judea, and 10 buildings in Tapuach West in Samaria, despite legal appeals to the Supreme Court and multiple protest actions.

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