'PA uses the Bedouin to fight Israel'

MK Bezalel Smotrich debates lawyer for illegal Bedouin village, says PA should not go to Israeli court while it is in conflict with Israel.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Khan al-Ahmar
Khan al-Ahmar

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) engaged in a televised debate Sunday with attorney Shlomo Lecker, representing the residents of the illegal village of Khan al-Ahmar, on the Knesset television channel.

According to MK Smotrich, the Palestinian Authority is behind the latest petitions to the Supreme Court against the demolition of the village. "I heard that these are lawyers from the Palestinian Authority. We have to say that we know, there is a big difference between a lawyer representing them on their own behalf or even on behalf of international organizations, and the Palestinian Authority, which is a hostile body that is in conflict with us and is waging a political struggle against us."

"The PA is using the Bedouins of Khan al-Ahmar," Smotrich said. "When the PA is behind the petition, it uses them, and I make it clear that the struggle is not a struggle for rights. It is a political, geopolitical struggle for control over the territory."

He explained that the area on which the village is built is an area where the Israeli government has to expand Highway 1 between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. For many years, the illegal village has been encroaching on the highway expansion, so there is no possibility that the residents of the illegal village will be allowed to stay there.

According to him, the Bedouin who settled in the area offered alternative land with development, which according to Smotrich is not given to anyone else, but they have not left because the PA threatened them.

Attorney Lecker called the Supreme Court's ruling that the village be demolished "a ruling which is a war crime."

Lecker rejected Smotrich's assertions that alternative land was offered for housing the residents and called claims that the village obstructed a planned highway route "fake news." Lecker said that in his opinion, this is not a request to demolish due to planning procedures or building permits, but for political reasons. "The abuse is very difficult for a weak population that harms the State of Israel," he said.

Lecker suggested to the residents of Kfar Adumim that they connect with the villagers: "If I were a resident of the area, I would do the exact opposite, I would embrace these people, and I would be able to contact them, teach them Hebrew, learn Arabic."