Saturday, May 12, 2018

Khan al-Ahmar: A classic case of Palestinian manipulation and international meddling - by Naomi Kahn

...In 1992, Salim Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, published his master plan for the creation of a Palestinian state. The basis of “The Fayyad Plan” was, and remains, the creation of a de facto state without the need for negotiation with Israel, through the creation of facts on the ground in areas under full Israeli administrative and security administration. One of the most strategically important areas on which the Fayyad Plan based its vision of Palestine runs directly through the Adumim region.

Naomi Kahn..
10 May '18..

Khan al-Ahmar is an embattled Bedouin village that has been in the news—and in the Israeli courts—for more than a decade. The history of Khan al-Ahmar is an eye-opening lesson in Middle Eastern politics. This seemingly unimposing settlement may well be the quintessential example of one of the major problems facing Israel today.

Khan al-Ahmar was built on land that belongs to the State of Israel. It is situated in an area under full Israeli administrative and security authority according to both the Oslo Accords and international law. In fact, it sits on land that is part of Kfar Adumim, in the heart of an area that is strategically critical to Israel’s security.

The residents of Khan al-Ahmar are one branch of the large Jahalin Bedouin tribe. Until fairly recently, they were nomadic shepherds who lived, with the rest of the tribe, near Arad, and moved their herds and tents around southern Israel with the changing seasons. At some point, a feud broke out between different branches of the tribe; in the 1970s, the Jahalin were forced out of the Arad area and traveled northward. That’s how they ended up where they are today.

Aerial photos paint a clear picture of the Jahalin’s history ever since: They arrived in the Adumim region in the mid-1970s, most probably after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Like almost all other Bedouin in Israel and the Middle East, the Jahalin began to abandon their nomadic lifestyle in favor of semi-permanent or permanent settlements; shepherding became more of a hobby to preserve their folklore, but they, like Bedouin throughout Israel and the Middle East, began to take up other lines of work.

The problem is that this branch of the tribe began to put up illegal structures and tap into municipal water and electricity lines in a highly sensitive, strategically critical area adjacent to a major highway, where they endanger their own lives, as well as those of motorists.

The encampment that began to take shape in the 1970s overlooks Route 1, the main artery connecting Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim and the Dead Sea beyond. From their very first day on the site, the Jahalin were well-aware that the land they had squatted on was within the municipal boundaries of Kfar Adumim. The also knew that this location was not a long-term solution for their housing needs.

What happened next is a classic case of Palestinian manipulation and international meddling.

(Continue to Full Column)

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