Bedouin residents of Khan al-Ahmar say they know nothing about reported evacuation agreement

January 27, 2022 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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Reports on Tuesday evening that the government of Israel has decided to move the Bedouin outpost of Khan al-Ahmar to a new location nearby have come as a surprise to the people who live there.

Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar in the Jerusalem Governorate of the West Bank, expected to be destroyed. Khan al Ahmar, Oct 16, 2018. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

TPS has heard from locals that no one has yet informed the residents about this.

There have been plans for several years now to relocate the illegal outpost which is located to the East of Jerusalem, along the highway that heads down from the mountains to the Jordan River Valley and the Dead Sea. The matter has been taken up by Israel’s High Court which is expected to issue a ruling in March, after having granted a number of delays to Israeli governments so that they could try and come up with a compromise solution.

The Jahalin Bedouin are the residents of Kahn Al-Ahmar. They are an offshoot of a larger tribe based in southern Israel. After a blood feud that occurred within the tribe in the 1970s, some of the families were forced out and migrated north, arriving and settling in their present location after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The location of the illegal structures is hazardous due to its proximity to Highway 1, a major transportation artery. Khan al Ahmar overlooks the road that connects Jerusalem to the south of Israel in a strategic area.

Apparently, an agreement was reached to evacuate the inhabitants of Khan al-Ahmar and move their town to another location just 300 meters (1,000 feet) away. This was revealed by Israel Channel 12 News reporter Amit Segal. The outpost is actually just a collection of small temporary structures that the Bedouin put together, as is the case with many a Bedouin settlement, and was constructed illegally. The idea is to move it a little further away from the main road there which is heavily trafficked.

According to the residents, they spoke with MK Mansour Abbas, leader of the Arab Ra’am Party in the Knesset, several months ago about the matter. But none of the parties have made any contact with them about any agreement in their case.

A Fatah operative in the Ramallah area also tells TPS that he has not heard of any such agreement between Israel and the residents or with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The residents of Khan al-Ahmar assume that people are probably talking about some sort of understanding reached in recent meetings between Israeli ministers and senior PA officials.

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