Khan al-Ahmar
Khan al-Ahmar Binyamin Regional Council spokesperson

The State Attorney on Sunday evening filed a request for a 48-hour extension in order to complete its submission to the Supreme Court in the matter of the illegal Bedouin outpost of Khan al-Ahmar, following reports that sharp divisions have emerged within the government regarding the evacuation of the outpost.

The deadline for the government's filing of a response to Regavim's petition in the Khan al-Ahmar case, informing the Supreme Court when it intends to enforce the demolition orders issued in 2009 for outpost was Sunday at midnight.

In recent days, rumors began circulating that Defense Minister Benny Gantz is in favor of coming to a compromise whereby the outpost will be relocated just 300 meters away from his current position, and allocated land in Area C, which is supposed to remain in Israeli hands in any future partition of the country.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar has insisted that his position remains unchanged: Khan al-Ahmar is to be evacuated without any compromise arrangement. Ministers Avigdor Liberman, Ayelet Shaked, and Ze'ev Elkin, as well as the Prime Minister and other coalition officials have also expressed themselves firmly in favor of a similar position, emphatically rejecting the idea of a compromise along the lines of what Gantz is proposing.

This past September, the state's representative requested one more extension, this time for six months; that extension is due to run out on Sunday.

In the decision it handed down in September granting the half-year extension, the Supreme Court wrote that "the expectation is that at the end of [the six-month] period a clear decision will be presented to this Court, after all options have been explored and exhausted. The period of mapping out alternatives and exploring courses of action is about to run its course, and what follows is the decision stage. Our aim is to conclude the hearing of this petition immediately after the [government's updated statement] is submitted, and the plaintiff's response is received, one way or another."

Responding to the state's request for an additional extension, the Regavim Movement's spokesperson said, "The state waited nearly until the stroke of midnight, perhaps hoping that Khan al-Ahmar would turn into a pumpkin or that Regavim would disappear - but neither of those things has happened. Once again, the government has asked to push off making a decision for a few more days."

"We have been waiting for years for the State of Israel to decide when it is going to enforce the law at Khan al-Ahmar. We are still waiting, and we aren't going to back down."