Hamas declares victory in Khan al-Ahmar

Senior Hamas official says government's decision to freeze evacuation of Bedouin settlement is a "Palestinian victory."

Dalit Halevi ,

Khan al-Ahmar
Khan al-Ahmar
Hillel Maeir/TPS

Ahmed Bahar, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Authority parliament and a senior member of the leadership of the Hamas terrorist organization, said on Sunday that Israel’s decision to postpone the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Khan Al-Ahmar is a "clear withdrawal by the occupation and victory for the Palestinian people."

In a telephone conversation with the head of the Khan al-Ahmar council, Bahar said, according to the Ma’an news agency, that this decision by the Israeli government would not have been made had it not been for the steadfastness of the residents of the village, the support of the residents of the Gaza Strip, and the determination of the “Palestinian people” to thwart the demolition of the village by Israel.

Bahar stressed that the "Palestinian people" are united in the face of the "occupation" and will not stop demanding that their legitimate rights, primarily freedom and self-determination, be realized.

Earlier on Sunday, the security cabinet voted to approve Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal that the planned demolition of the illegal Bedouin encampment east of Jerusalem be delayed for several weeks.

Khan al-Ahmar, first established in the 1990s, is home to between 170 and 180 Bedouin who settled on a strip of land adjacent to the Israeli town of Kfar Adumim, east of Jerusalem.

Israeli courts have repeatedly upheld demolition orders issued against the illegal community, culminating in the Supreme Court’s final rejection of the residents’ claims in a ruling last month.

Last week, the ICC chief prosecutor warned Israel that the demolition could be construed as a war crime.

On Saturday, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that the government is holding off on demolishing Khan al-Ahmar in order to “exhaust negotiations and proposals received from various sources, including some in the past few days.”

Following the vote in the cabinet, Netanyahu made clear on Sunday that the illegal outpost will be demolished.

"Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated, with or without agreement. It will not take weeks; it will be much shorter,” said Netanyahu. “We will make several vital preparatory moves in the international arena. We will give a last chance for evacuation by agreement but in any case Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated. I am not talking about a cosmetic evacuation but a real evacuation.”

“Neither do I need fictitious ultimatums because we are all united around one goal – to evacuate this illegal construction. There is no argument about this. A 'fake' argument is being created. Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated and very soon,” he stressed.