Court urges state to prevent ‘forced transfer’ of Palestinian-Beduin village

On-going dispute over the future of the unrecognized village of Dkeika marks further escalation in the relations between Israel's Beduin community and the authorities.

July 19, 2017 09:44
2 minute read.
A VIEW of Umm Al-Hiran, the Beduin village in the southern Negev Desert demolished by police last we

A VIEW of Umm Al-Hiran, the Beduin village in the southern Negev Desert demolished by police. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The High Court of Justice asked the state to explain within 90 days why it has failed to authorize the Palestinian-Beduin herding village of Dkeika, located in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank.

In an injunction issued Tuesday the court questioned why the state hasn’t offered Dkeika residents any administrative solution that would “allow them to live on their land and would prevent a humanitarian disaster and the forced transfer of its residents.”

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The High Court of Justice published the injunction in response to a petition by the Left-wing NGO 'Rabbis for Human Rights' against IDF plans to demolish the village by March 2018. Its 140 modular structures are located very close to the Green Line.

The Civil Administration has offered to relocate the 300 Dkeika residents to the Palestinian-Beduin village of Hmedia, situated two kilometers away.

The three judges that heard arguments on the case — Neal Hendel, Daphne Barak Erez and Uri Shaham — took issue with the Civil Administration’s rejection of a master plan that would have allowed Dkeika to be legalized in its current location.

“Why hasn’t the [Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria] rescinded its rejection on July 13, 2013 of a [master] plan for the village of Dkeika?” the judges asked in their injunction.

“Why hasn’t the planning council given detailed and professional instructions to the petitioners on how they can amend the [master] plan [so that it is suitable] for its current location?” the judges asked.

But in spite of the language in the injunction that appeared to favor Rabbis for Human Rights, the court told the state it needed to comply “only if it wished.”

In a previous statement to the court, the state said it would be difficult to legalize Dkeika because a section of the village could be located on land that is part of the route of the security barrier. It was also raised the concern that a portion of the village could be located on land that is part of sovereign Israel.

A hearing on the matter was held in November of last year, at which time the court had ordered the state and the Dkeika residents to find a way to resolve the issue between them.

But when no such solution was found, the matter was returned to the courts.

Tuesday’s injunction was the latest step in the long standing legal battles that date back more than 12 years.

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