The Israeli High Court on Wednesday decided to postpone the final decision on the evacuation of the Palestinian population from the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, southeast of Jerusalem after residents rejected a proposal to relocate them.
The inhabitants decided to continue protesting against the decision to deport them and demolish their homes.
The court had upheld its previous decision last May to displace the evacuated residents of the area, claiming that they built their homes without a permit, in violation of the Israeli laws.
During the five-hour court session, the judges criticized the position of the Israeli government, which does not provide the residents with a suitable humanitarian alternative to their housing.
The judges then proposed that the residents agree to leave the area provided that the government offers them a suitable alternative. The judges also confirmed their adherence to their previous decision to demolish the village and displace its inhabitants.
However, the defense team rejected the deportation and stressed commitment to the residents’ right to their land, homes and school, and the attorneys presented detailed plans on the means to legitimize the buildings in Khan al-Ahmar.
According to the Jordanian Planning and Building Law in force in the West Bank, it is possible to submit detailed and structural plans for the construction of houses.
The defense attorneys asserted that this area was an occupied land that falls under the Jordanian law. But even under the internal laws used by the civil administration of the occupation authorities, the demolition orders can be frozen until detailed plans are decided upon.
As expected, the Israeli prosecution rejected the proposal and insisted on implementing the court’s decision to evacuate the Palestinians, as it is currently preparing a major settlement project in the area.
Consequently, the court postponed the ruling and gave the defense staff and the prosecutor’s office five days to submit written submissions on the appeal, after which the judges would decide to issue a final decision or hold a new session.
Some 200 Bedouins face the threat of being deported from their land, while hundreds of students from nearby communities have been prevented from enrolling in the school built in the village years ago.