The Supreme Court.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice on Thursday night ruled in favor of the state’s request to postpone the deadline for evacuating Amona by 45 days from this coming Sunday, but not before bashing the government in unusually harsh language for putting it in the position of having to address another such request.
The High Court said that the state had not properly prepared to evacuate the Amona residents, and instead constantly scrambled in ways to alter the facts on the ground and circumvent prior rulings on the issue.
Further, it said that if some residents have found temporary places to move to, “it is unclear why similar solutions were not available to the rest of the village’s residents.”
In light of these facts, “we could have rejected the request and determined that the date for implementing the decision remain as decided.”
In fact, the only reason the court gave for accepting the delay was that Amona residents gave a totally unqualified commitment to evacuating peacefully.
The 12-page decision appeared to have been mostly written earlier in the day, indicating that the High Court expected the final turn of events to pass as they did.
The court also noted that its ruling said nothing about ongoing substantive disputes related to the land, including new claims raised by the leftwing Yesh Din group earlier in the week.
Earlier on Thursday, Amona residents expressed anxiety about having their fate up in the air. Many complained about being “humiliated” by repeated requests from the court.
In unusually fast-paced drama for the normally slow-moving court, the justices refused to accept the residents’ declaration early on Thursday that they would accept the terms of their evacuation. Instead, they demanded an unequivocal commitment to evacuate without violence by 5 p.m.
The residents complied with the High Court’s demand and met that deadline.
Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev said the court had singled out Amona residents for poor treatment. He said other groups are not asked to come back and change technical matters in what they file with the court.
“The court continues to torture Amona families,” Yogev said. “Instead of finding solutions and uniting people, the court uses its rulings to cause rifts in Israeli society.”
Activists of the right-wing Honeinu group said they were angry with the court’s repeated demands. They called for “an end to the dictatorship of the High Court” and said “the ego of the High Court harms all of us.”
The High Court’s call for an unqualified commitment to evacuate appeared intended to ensure that, if aspects of the state’s promises to the Amona residents did not come to pass, the residents would still evacuate and no further delays would be requested.
Although the state already guaranteed that it would not ask for a further delay, it has repeatedly requested “last” delays from the High Court over the years regarding Amona.