Paving the Way for Annexation?

On February 19, the IDF distributed 40 orders “to cease construction” in Al Khan Al Ahmar, a Bedouin village located northeast of Jerusalem, between Maale Adumim and Kfar Adumim, north of Road No. 1 (within what Netanyahu and others consider the “Maale Adumim bloc and as part of “Greater Jerusalem”). Details are as follows:

  • The orders target, in effect, allof the structures of the village. In short, these are orders to demolish an entire village of 100 residents.
  • The distribution of demolition orders to an entire village is unprecedented.
  • These orders are part of the broader policybeing undertaken throughout Area C, including but not limited to the Maale Adumim/E-1 area, aiming to empty Area C of Palestinians in order to prepare the ground for future annexations.
  • Although the orders did not stipulate on what date demolitions would be carried out, they gave residents fivedays (until Thursday 2/23) to voice their objections to the orders, before the State is expected to proceed with evacuation.
  • The residents are expected to petition the court against the demolition orders.
  • One of the orders targets the so-called “Tire School,” a school that serves the needs of several Bedouin communities in the area. It does so despite the fact that the fate of the “Tire School” has been under discussionin Israel’s High Court of Justice since last August 2016, and despite the fact that the State has yet to submit to the Court its opinion regarding the school.

We have noted above that there are serious moves afoot to annex Area C, or at the very least the Maaleh Adumim bloc. In essence, the positions held by Netanyahu, who  has expressed reservations about annexation, and those who are leading the charge, like Naftali Bennett, are less distinct than they might seem at first glance. Both, in effect, support annexation. Bennett insists on de jure annexation, and Netanyahu is satisfied, for the time being, with de facto annexation. And for both, the displacement of the Bedouin in the area to the east of Jerusalem is as important as settlement expansion, with displacement and settlement both being key components in annexation, be it de facto or de jure