Aug 17, 2022
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Khan al Ahmar, an illegally constructed Arab encampment near Maale Adumim on Highway 1, has become a symbol of the anti-Israel movement that has even lobbied the State Department and the European Union to condemn any potential demolition of the illegal outpost.

Despite promising to evacuate the village, then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since hesitated as the Israeli government received a 120-day extension to leave the site intact.

Late last week, the 120-day extension allotted to the State by the High Court of Justice ran out – with no response submitted to the Court detailing the time frame for the evacuation of the illegal outpost in the Adumim Region. The Regavim Movement, which has been pursuing law enforcement in this crucial strategic area for over 13 years, returned to the High Court of Justice today with a petition for a final judgment requiring the immediate evacuation of the outpost: “It’s high time for the High Court to end this massive failure.”

In a hearing before Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) this past March of a petition filed by the Regavim movement against the State for its failure to enforce the law and demolish the illegal outpost known as Khan al Ahmar, the State’s attorney requested an extension of 120 days to provide the Court with a detailed plan to resolve the standoff. This extension is the latest in a seemingly unending series of delays and excuses that has seen the outpost expand and become even more entrenched: The current petition is the sixth (!) time the HCJ has green-lighted the evacuation of the outpost and the relocation of its residents; the first petition was filed over 13 years ago. Nonetheless, the HCJ has never issued a deadline or required the State to provide one. Justice Noam Solberg issued a conditional order requiring the State to do so within 120 days but made it clear in his decision that the day was rapidly approaching that the High Court would be forced to move toward definitive steps.

As the 120-day extension wound down with no response filed by the State, the Court’s summer recess began on 21 July; the High Court will reconvene on 5 September. In response, Regavim’s attorneys have filed a motion for a final judgment and an end to the contempt displayed by the State for the High Court and the Israeli public. The motion, requesting a final date for the demolition of Khan al Ahmar, details the State’s interminable legal foot-dragging and notes that over a year has passed since the State requested an extension in light of progress toward a mutually-agreed framework for relocation; when that extension expired, the State admitted that in point of fact, no such framework exists and no date for implementation of the demolition orders had been set – and requested another six-month delay. That grace period, too, ran out without any progress, and the State requested an additional 120 days, which ended last week. This time, the State did not even go to the trouble of responding or appealing to the Court for more time.

Attorney Avi Segal, representing Regavim in the Khan al Ahmar case, explained
: “The State is trying to avoid making a decision and is hoping to use a shameful bureaucratic trick to eke out an additional 45-day extension, turning the 120-day extension into 165 days. After more than a decade of procrastination, it comes as no surprise that once again, the Government is making a laughingstock of the High Court and simply ignoring the law. The High Court must shut down this circus act and issue a final judgment that sets a deadline by which the illegal compound must be evacuated and demolished. Let’s hope this will be a small step toward halting the massive illicit takeover of the Adumim Region.