Gilad farm ruins (R) 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian residents of Immatin, near Nablus, filed a petition to the High
Court of Justice on Sunday, asking that the court issue injunctions to halt all
construction in the West Bank outpost of Gilad Farm (Havat
Established in 2003, Gilad Farm is located around 1.5 kilometers
from the Kedumim settlement and is named for Gilad Zar, the Shomron Regional
Council security coordinator murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 2001. While
Gilad Farm settlers maintain that the land is privately owned by Zar’s father
Moshe, Palestinians claim the land is theirs and say the outpost was constructed
illegally on lands belonging to the Palestinian village of Far’ata.
rights group Yesh Din filed the petition on behalf of Immatin villager Azat
Assad Rashid Zoan, who says the settlers are building two illegal permanent
structures on his private land, without his consent and the appropriate planning
Furthermore, the petition claims that part of the structures are
actually located on Area B territories, which are not under the jurisdiction of
the Israeli civilian authorities. (Area B territories are under Palestinian
civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.) The petition also
requests the enforcement of previously issued stop-work orders and demolition
orders against the outpost.
Yesh Din attorney Michael Sfard, who filed
the petition on behalf of the Palestinian villagers, said the petition is urgent
because the Gilad Farm structures are almost complete. If the buildings are
inhabited, it will be harder for the court to enforce their demolition, since
according to IDF regulations the defense minister must personally approve all
demolitions of West Bank homes in which Israelis reside. The settlers and their
supporters could then create political pressure that could lead to delays in
demolition of the buildings, he said.
“It is possible that it would take
a long time until [the defense minister] could deal with a case involving two
buildings out of the tens of thousands already standing and that are continuing
to be built in the West Bank,” the petitioners say, adding that they felt they
had “no choice but to file the petition, and in real-time, with the
understanding that if the court does not intervene, the petitioners’ land will
suffer a fate similar to that of other private Palestinian land – exclusion and
By enforcing the stop-work orders and demolishing the
buildings in Gilad Farm, the court would “significantly strengthen the rule of
law in the West Bank regarding illegal construction in the outposts,” the
They argue that the law enforcement authorities in the
West Bank have “given up the fight” of attempting to stop illegal
According to the petitioners, when the Palestinian
villagers discovered that settlers were carrying out illegal construction on the
land in late 2010, they filed two complaints with the Israeli police in the West
Bank. However, the police closed the files and marked them “offender unknown,”
so the construction continued.
The petitioners also claim they paid a
visit to the construction site just ten days before filing the High Court
petition, and discovered that settlers have started to build an additional
structure on the land.
Attorney Avishar Lev, Yesh Din’s legal adviser,
said on Sunday that the settlers had acted “in clear and blatant defiance of the
law” by building on the land in Gilad Farm.
“Settlers in the area have
learned that there is no need to acquire building permits,” Lev said, adding
that the settlers were trying to establish “facts on the ground.”
case is especially severe because the construction is being carried out outside
the area under Israeli civilian control, which illustrates the prevailing
lawlessness in the West Bank,” said Lev, referring to the petitioners’ claims
that settlers are constructing parts of the buildings in Area B.