The state on Friday asked the High Court of Justice to delay by seven months the
evacuation of the Givat Assaf outpost in the West Bank, because it has new
evidence with regard to the case.
It did not present or describe that
The state had previously promised the court that by July 1 it
would take down the outpost’s 25 caravans, which are perched on a small hill
next to Route 60 and close to the Beit El settlement.
statements to the court, the state had said it believed the outpost was built
without permits on private Palestinian property.
The battle to save Givat
Assaf has been mostly overshadowed by the larger struggle against the pending
demolition by July 1 of five apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost, on the
outskirts of Beit El.
It was assumed that decisions made with regard to
Ulpana would affect Givat Assaf. It is also believed that the state has more
leeway with the Givat Assaf outpost, because the court case has not been
Last week residents of the five ulpana apartment buildings agreed
to voluntarily evacuate their homes in exchange for gurantees from the state,
such as the construction of 300 new homes in the Beit El settlement.
residents said they also received assurances from the government that in future
statements to the court it would not support home demolitions.
state’s request to the court to delay the Givat Assaf evacuation comes just days
after that agreement was reached.
It is also the first judicial document
penned under the auspices of the newly created Ministerial Settlements
Committee, which now has oversight responsibilities on state responses to the
The delay, the state told the court on Friday, would allow it
time to present the situation to the committee along with the new evidence it
Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer attacked the
“The government is once again at the last moment asking
to break its promise to the court and to delay the evacuation of an outpost on
private Palestinian land. If the government has additional information it should
present it to the court and not hide behind global statements,” Oppenheimer
He added that he was concerned that the state was now looking to
legalize an outpost on private Palestinian property. Peace Now filed the initial
petition against the outpost, which was founded in May 2001, after a Palestinian
terrorist shot and killed Assaf Hershkowitz as he drove nearby.
activist Moshe Feiglin, however, welcomed the state’s request, which he saw as
evidence of a new governmental policy not to demolish outposts.