Settlers have called on the High Court of Justice to rule that the illegal Palestinian Beduin village of Khan al-Ahmar should be razed.
“We are fighting here for the State of Israel,” Roni Snir of the Binyamin Regional Council said on Sunday evening.
He was among some 50 settlers, right-wing activists and children who climbed or drove up a dirt road onto a hilltop in the Judean hills overlooking the herding village. When the rally was over they released multi-colored balloons into the air.
The High Court of Justice is adjudicating the fate of the village and an adjacent school and is expected to hold a hearing on the matter on September 15.
Snir said the same court which ordered the demolitions of Jewish outposts in Judea and Samaria, such as Migron and Amona, must now turn around and make the same decision here.
“The HCJ has done nothing to evacuate this place,” said Snir as he explained that the encampment of 100 modular structures, mostly shacks and tents, is home to 800 people.
MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) said the community was strategically placed in the area of the settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim and Kfar Adumim.
He explained that it was part of a plan of “terror building” first put forward by former Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad to create facts on the ground by encouraging illegal Palestinian and Beduin building in Area C of the West Bank.
“Jewish homes have been taken down and illegal Palestinian building continues,” Yogev said, adding that the European Union was helping fund such Palestinian and Beduin construction.
“Foreign money streams in here,” Yogev said.
True, the Civil Administration has done a better job with enforcement in the last year, but it is not enough, he said.
MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) said that the overall phenomenon of illegal Beduin and Palestinian construction particularly in the area of Route 1, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, was dangerous because it could serve as a base for a terrorist attacks against the road.
“It is also dangerous for the [Israeli] territorial continuity of this area,” said Moalem-Refaeli, who explained that she believed that all of Area C should be part of sovereign Israel.
Attorney Shlomo Lecker, who represents the village, said that the Beduin living there were part of the Jahalin tribe.
Israel evicted them from the area of Arad in the Negev in 1952 and sent them to the hilltops outside of Jerusalem when they were under Jordanian control before the Six Day War, he explained.
This particular village has been at its present location since the 1970s and is located partially on private Palestinian land and partially on Israeli state land, he said.
He added that the Civil Administration does not authorize construction for the Beduin in the area where their encampments are located.