Khan al-Ahmar
Khan al-AhmarJamal Awad/Flash90

The Supreme Court today (Sunday) rejected the petition of the Regavim movement demanding the immediate fulfillment of past court decisions by the demolition of the illegal Bedouin outpost of Khan al-Ahmar.

Justice Alex Stein wrote in the decision "The state respondents did not shirk their fundamental duty to destroy the illegal outpost. However, as it was convincingly explained to us, they cannot do so at this time for current reasons related to the security of the state and its foreign relations - reasons whose importance far outweighs the public need to enforce planning and construction laws in the outpost and the state's rights to the land on which it was illegally established."

"Our opinion is that these reasons are related to security matters and the country's foreign relations," stated Judge Stein. "Under these circumstances, the petition before us has exhausted itself. All we can give the petitioner is a declaration that the outpost was built illegally and therefore should be evacuated and demolished. With regard to the State's respondents' latest decision regarding law enforcement against the outpost and its residents, we cannot interfere at this time."

Justice Noam Solberg added: "I am also convinced, after reviewing the confidential material presented to us, that actual, current reasons, concerning the foreign relations and security of the country, do not allow for the evacuation at this time."

The Regavim movement said in response to the court's decision: “This decision's impact goes far beyond this particular illegal Palestinian outpost. This most recent High Court decision illustrates that in today’s judicial system, some are more equal than others."

"In similar petitions, when the state claimed “political considerations,” such as in the Amona, Netiv Ha’Avot and Migron cases, the High Court refused to accept arguments involving political consideration, and required the state to enforce the law and carry out demolitions. In those cases, the Court explicitly stated that there is no place for considerations of this kind in cases involving enforcement of planning and construction laws.

"The state’s capitulation to international pressure, and today’s High Court of Justice decision granting that capitulation a seal of approval, are leading the State of Israel to the brink of anarchy: The ground rules for Israeli retreat have been laid, and foreign concerns now have official confirmation that the Israeli government will back down from its own stated policies and national interests when pressure is applied.

"The current terminology for today’s decision is, “Shame!” - shame on the government of Israel and shame on the High Court of Justice," Regavim stated.

The Supreme Court ordered the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, which was illegally constructed on State lands, in 2017, following a 2009 petition by Regavim. The government has repeatedly requested ad received delays from the court in the enforcement of the order, even as it has demolished several Jewish communities which the courts have ruled were built on privately-owned Arab land.

The issue of Khan al-Ahmar has complicated Israel's international relations, with supporters of the creation of a Palestinian Arab state in all of Judea and Samaria demanding that the government ignore the Supreme Court's decision and allow the Bedouin village to remain in its current location despite its illegality.