Israel wants more time to decide on Khan al-Ahmar

An inhabitant of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, near Jerusalem (Wisam Hashlamoun - APA Images)

Middle East Monitor  /  March 9, 2022

The government of Israel asked the High Court of Justice on Tuesday to give it extra time to make a final decision on the village of Khan al-Ahmar under the pretext that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is involved in trying to mediate between Russia and Ukraine.

“Considering the current circumstances in the world political arena, including the prime minister’s involvement in the military crisis in Europe, as well as to allow him to properly focus on the petition, the defendants are to submit their response by 7 April,” said the court.

According to local media, the government had initially been slated to respond to a petition by the right-wing settlement group Regavim on Sunday, but had asked the court for a two-day delay. The illegal settlers have battled for the past 12 years to force the Israeli government to evict the Bedouin residents of the herding village of Khan al-Ahmar.

In September last year, the High Court of Justice accepted a request filed by the government to postpone the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar for six months. In 2018, the court had ruled that the Israeli occupation forces could demolish the homes of the 180-member community, but did not insist that it must do so, reported The Jerusalem Post.

The international community has put pressure on Israel not to destroy the community. The former International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda warned at the time that the forced relocation of Khan al-Ahmar could be a war crime.