Israeli Settlers Have Helped Their Bedouin Neighbors, Whom the Palestinian Authority and the EU Have Kept Living in Shacks

Located about seven miles east of Jerusalem, Khan al-Ahmar consists of little more than a cluster of tents and tin shacks that are home to a few hundred Bedouin. The Oslo Accords placed the settlement, along with the nearby Jewish village of Kfar Adumim, in Area C of the West Bank—which was to remain under direct Israeli control pending further negotiations. Because the structures making up Khan al-Ahmar were built illegally, the Israeli government has tried for years to relocate the Bedouin to somewhere where they could live in more suitable conditions. But both European governments and the Palestinian Authority have gotten in the way, as Danny Tirza explains:

Proposals submitted by the [Israeli West Bank] Civil Administration to the Bedouin to relocate onto building plots—which would include public infrastructure and compensation—were rejected on various grounds, often due to political pressure from the Palestinian Authority, backed and assisted by European organizations. . . . Likewise, in violation of Israeli law, . . . EU representatives erected light buildings for the Bedouin on state lands. Under pressure from various factors in the EU, the site has even won the protection of Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

The Civil Administration’s law-enforcement agencies froze construction on the site and prevented any development or strengthening of dilapidated buildings in the area, preserving the inhumane conditions in which the Bedouin live. However, a large group of settlers from Kfar Adumim came to the aid of their Bedouin neighbors for humanitarian assistance. . . . It turned out that despite the international controversy, the human connection still exists, as it should.

[Recently] reports came of a compromise proposal agreed to by the Bedouin families, according to which the Bedouin would be relocated to the Arad Valley within Israeli territory and near other members of [their] tribe in the area. Those who had been relocated would receive residential land, financial compensation, and permanent-resident status in Israel.

There is no doubt that the proposed agreement will benefit the Bedouin families. Now, the question is whether the Palestinian Authority and the European Union will allow the Bedouin to implement the agreement and improve their living conditions, or whether Khan al-Ahmar will once again be held hostage by a political struggle.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Angela Merkel, Bedouin, Europe and Israel, Palestinian Authority, West Bank

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security