Israel’s Perverse Profusion of Prevarications-The Need To Lie

September 21, 2018 in News by RBN Staff


Source: WHTT


Israel is very proud of its legal system that so cleverly denies building permits to Palestinians, but legitimizes illegal (under international law) Israeli settlements in the West Bank of Palestine. A case in point is the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar that is slated for demolition. Professor Frank Romano found out the consequences of non-violent protesting against the destruction of this village. Professor Romano explains beautifully in this 2 1/2 minute video.

Israeli border police arrest American university professor Frank Romano in the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, September 14, 2018. Nasser Nasser/AP Photo

For background info on Khan al-Ahnar, take a look at these articles from the Israeli newspaper, Harretz: “Everything You Need to Know About the West Bank Bedouin Village at the Eye of a Diplomatic Storm,” “In Unusual Move, Israeli Army Arrests French-American Law Professor in West Bank” and “Why Did Israel Handcuff and Deport a French-American Law Professor?

Who lives in Khan al-Ahmar?This Bedouin village is close to Route 1 in the area of Kfar Adumim. It is home to a few dozen families from the Jahalin tribe, which was expelled from its home in the Negev to the West Bank in the 1950s. Aerial photographs and testimony by villagers show that the residents wandered within the Jerusalem-Jericho region before gradually establishing permanent residence in Khan al-Ahmar, apparently in or around the 1970s. Khan al-Ahmar is just one of a number of villages that are home to the Jahalin.

Which buildings are slated for demolition?

Most of the village’s structures are tin shacks, tents or permanent tents that are used to shelter the residents and their livestock. Khan al-Ahmar is also home to the Tire School, a more durable structure, established with European support.

What is the village’s zoning status?

Khan al-Ahmar is not legal according to Israeli planning law. Members of the Jahalin tribe have been living in the area since before the Six-Day War. Its permanent buildings were erected without the required permits from the Civil Administration and without an urban master plan. They were built on land that is defined as state land.

Can the buildings be legalized retroactively?

The state can grant legal status retroactively to unlawful construction on state land, but is not doing so in Khan al-Ahmar. The state has legalized settlement outposts in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, whose jurisdiction includes the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement — the community that petitioned the High Court to demolish Khan al-Ahmar. Among the outposts it legalized are Rahelim and Harsha, even though the access road to Harsha was constructed on privately owned Palestinian land. Steps have also been taken to legalize the Adei Ad outpost. Mateh Binyamin includes some 30 unauthorized Israeli outposts. Admittedly, in regard to Khan al-Ahmar there is a certain difficulty in granting legal status to a community built from tents and tin shacks, adjacent to a highway and lacking any organized infrastructure.

The village’s proximity to a settlement and a highway are among the reasons cited for not legalizing it.

But there are also arguments, grounded in international law, according to which it is illegal for an occupying force to displace a local population. These arguments are generally not accepted in Israeli law.

Where does the state want to resettle the Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin?

Authorities plan to move residents to Al Jabel, a village in the Azariya area, situated between the Abu Dis garbage dump and a chop shop for stolen vehicles. Bedouin from other Jahalin communities are already living there, but there is a long-running feud between the two groups. The residents of Khan al-Ahmar, who already live under dire conditions, claim that the permanent site designated for them would leave them significantly worse off. Each family is supposed to receive an area of around 300 square meters in the permanent site.

What were the previous High Court rulings?

Demolition orders were issued for the structures used to shelter the residents and their flocks as well as the school. There have been a number of legal proceedings. Residents of nearby settlements, in particular Kfar Adumim, have sought to have the demolition orders carried out, while the Bedouin have fought the orders. The state informed the High Court that it intended to evacuate all residents of Khan al-Ahmar by June. In the end, the court ruled that the state is authorized to carry out the demolition orders without setting a date. In previous evacuations of Israeli outposts built on private Palestinian land, the High Court explicitly ruled that the state must carry out the demolition by a particular date.

What was the latest High Court ruling?

On Thursday the Palestinians petitioned the court, arguing that the legalization proposals they submitted to the Civil Administration were not examined. The High Court issued a temporary restraining order freezing the demolition and ordered the state to respond to the Palestinians’ claims by Wednesday. After the state submits its response, the High Court can decide to reject the petition and allow the state to resume the demolition process. Alternatively, the court can conduct deliberations that could delay or prevent the demolitions.

A 66-year-old French-American citizen and two other activists were arrested Friday in the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.According to border police, the three, law professor Frank Romano and two Palestinians, tried to block the road and disrupt soldiers situated near the village, which is slated for demolition.

Exceptionally, the arrest of Romano – a foreign national – was extended by 96 hours under military code rather than civil law. Military code applies to Palestinians and significantly reduces the rights granted to suspects. In comparison, in the Israeli legal system there is a duty to bring a suspect before a judge within 24 hours.

Protesters demonstrate against the blocking of the road leading to the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank, September 14, 2018. Credit: AFP

Attorney Gaby Lasky, who represents Romano, told Haaretz that this it is very rare for military code to be used for foreign citizens, saying that she had encountered only one such other case in the past. Lasky plans to appeal to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to bring the man to a remand hearing.

In a video posted by Jordanian news site Roya News, Romano is seen attempting to block a military bulldozer.

According to Lasky, the justification given to her for Romano being handled under military code is that he was arrested for security offenses in the West Bank alongside Palestinian activists.

Lasky added that although Romano was arrested under the military code, he is being held at Jerusalem’s Russian Compound Detention Center and not in Ofer Prison, where military detainees are usually held.

According to Romano’s Facebook page, he has been on hunger strike since his arrest at 10.30 P.M. on Friday.

Romano teaches law at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in France.

The village of Khan al-Ahmar was built on state-owned land without construction permits. Israel has suggested that its residents — dozens of Bedouin families of the Jahalin tribe who were expelled from the Negev in the 1950s and lived in the village ever since — move to a nearby Palestinian village.

The residents did not agree to evacuate, and a legal battle then ensued between them and the state, with the Israeli High Court of Justice finally ruling that the residents had to leave and the village could be demolished.

Residents are protesting the fact that the site they were offered to move to is situated in a problematic location: between a garbage dump and an auto scrapyard.

On Thursday, Israel security forces demolished five shacks built near Khan al-Ahmar by Palestinian activists.

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat said Tuesday that the Palestinians have approached the International Criminal Court in The Hague seeking to launch legal proceedings against Israel over the plans to evacuate the village. The Israeli government has proposed relocating the villagers to a permanent site at Al-Eizariya, near the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, located between a garbage dump and an auto junkyard.

The Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar is located near Route 1 is home to several dozen families from the Jahalin tribe. The tribe originated in the Negev and was expelled to the West Bank in the 1950s. According to aerial photographs and testimonies of the residents of the village, the residents wandered after their expulsion from the Negev to the Jerusalem-Jericho area, in what is now Gush Adumim.

The case of Prof. Frank Romano, a dual French-American citizen who was arrested on Friday at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, raises a number of questions.

Professor Frank Romano in court in Jerusalem on September 16, 2018. Credit: Emil Salman

Why was it documented and reported that the professor attacked a police officer, and based on this report a military arrest warrant for 96 hours was issued, when no such attack had occurred? The attorney representing the state admitted to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that there had been no attack. Rather a soldier had been hindered in carrying out his duties, when apparently the movement of a tractor was blocked as part of a protest against the intention to evacuate the village and destroy its homes.

What steps will be taken against those who gave false testimony?

How long will the practice continue in Israel of law enforcement officers providing false reports against citizens or tourists to lead to their false arrest?

Was the use of a military arrest order intended to enable a longer detention without judicial oversight? Was it intended to allow for a hasty deportation from Israel? Is this the way Israel treats the right to liberty?

Why wasn’t Romano afforded a proper hearing on his deportation, including representation by his attorney? Was the deportation process intended to prevent a hearing in the court in Jerusalem over the legality of his detention, by making such a hearing unnecessary?

Why and on what basis was Romano deported?

How did it happen that for hours, no official body was found to take responsibility for Romano’s custody after a deportation order was issued against him, and as a result, the short trip from Ramla,where he was being held, turned into four hours.

What justified keeping Romano handcuffed during the hearing? What were those who cuffed him afraid of? And in how many other cases are detainees cuffed unnecessarily, except for the illegal purpose of causing them to suffer?

How long will the stupidity persist that is behind the government’s persecution of people in Israel and abroad who oppose the occupation, the expulsion of Palestinians and the Israeli government’s contempt for international law? When will it become clear what huge damage this causes to Israel’s image as a free country and its international standing? When will the impact of these steps — which change the attitude of those who are its victims from a critical stance to a completely negative view of Israel — be understood?

How good it is that there are judges in Jerusalem, including the Magistrate’s Court, whose insight has not deserted them, despite the demands on them by the government to function as automatons in the service of brutality.