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Wresting Land Rights from Israel Using a ‘Historic’ Arab Village That Never Existed

This is Part 3 of a 10-part series exposing the underreported joint European and Palestinian program to bypass international law and establish a de facto Palestinian state on Israeli land. 

The particular case of Khan al Ahmar demonstrates how far the Palestinian Authority and European Union will go in their quest to delegitimize Israel and garner international sympathy.

By the 1970s, many Bedouin Arabs had abandoned their nomadic shepherding traditions, taking advantage of the livelihood the newly established state of Israel afforded them.

During this time, after a blood feud occurred within the Jahalin Bedouins, an offshoot of a larger tribe, some families were forced out and migrated from southern Israel to Maaleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the north between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

They set up a cluster of tents, ignoring its hazardous location due to its proximity to a major highway, and began illegally tapping into the municipality’s water and electricity lines.


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Knowing full well that their presence was illegal, many of the Bedouins cooperated with Israeli orders to evacuate. Some relocated, while others signed relocation agreements and were preparing to leave.

But instead of allowing this routine zoning enforcement case to be settled like any other real estate dispute involving squatters, the Palestinians and their European backers decided to act as the Jahalin’s representatives and turn this into an international spectacle.

First, they fabricated a name for this lawless encampment to make it appear historic: “Khan al Ahmar.” From there, they complained to the media that this destitute group of Arabs was being threatened with forced removal and ethnic cleansing.

They accompanied their manufactured narrative with images of barefoot Bedouin children and began pumping money into the settlement, even building these “dispossessed” children a school.

Eventually, the Bedouins were convinced that they should stay put, while the PA and EU launched four separate lawsuits starting in 2009 with the Israeli Supreme Court, an activist body consisting of self-selected and largely liberal judges who have crafted a supra-democratic system in which actors with no legal standing are invited to file unlimited petitions against the state.

Israel’s high court is notoriously lenient toward Palestinians, even at the expense of Israeli safety and security, yet even it ruled, in every one of the Khan al Ahmar petitions, that the squatters must evacuate. The French courts called the verdicts a “violation of international law,” a rich claim given France’s own sordid history of forced transfer of its Roma population to Eastern European countries.

The Israeli government offered the Jahalin a generous relocation package to the Arab community of Abu Dis, located roughly four miles away.

This initiative would give every wife of the polygamous Jahalin households nearly $140,000 dollars, as well as provide each with a plot of land zoned for residential construction in a new community named Jahalin West, equipped with water and electricity, proper sanitation, education, and welfare services.

If they had accepted, these Bedouins would be living today in functional homes as part of a community designed specifically for them. Instead, they have been kept in limbo and cynically used as pawns in a perverse and corrupt ideological battle against the Jewish state.


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For 10 years, the Bedouin evacuation, relocation and demolition orders were suspended, and Jahalin West remained uninhabited. Recently, squatters have begun to creep in and erect homes on the plots that had been standing empty, a rather ironic predicament given that critics had once complained that the Jahalin could not possibly be relocated to this site because it was “unfit for human settlement.”

Khan al Ahmar is representative of the tactics that the PA regularly employs when wresting land rights from the state of Israel.

First, it identifies a strategic point located far from an existing population center. Then, it illegally seizes the land, invents a name for this “historic” village that never existed, and insists the squatters have been there since the dawn of time, despite aerial photographs showing otherwise.

Third, it broadcasts any pushback from Israel as “cruel” and “oppressive,” even “ethnic cleansing.” Often, the next step is to create a land bridge between the new village and an existing Arab settlement, often through agricultural projects. Then, it finds another location to invade.

Rather than using its resources to build homes, schools, businesses or parks on the vast open spaces under its control, the PA invests in politically motivated land seizures in Area C with the anti-Semitic aim of denying the right of Jews to live and thrive in their own sovereign country, amidst a sea of 50 Muslim-majority nations.

Part 4 will be published next week.

Part 1 can be read here.

Part 2 can be read here.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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