El Matan synagogue 311.
(photo credit: Gur Dotan)
The state informed the High Court of Justice on Thursday that it had granted a
hearing to settlers protesting the sealing of an illegal building in the outpost
of Elmatan, and rejected the settlers’ arguments.
The building was
completed in violation of a court order to stop construction and is currently
used as a synagogue.
The state’s representative, attorney Uri Kedar, told
the court that the head of the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria had
informed the settlers that there was no legal reason not to go ahead with the
court ruling to seal the building.
Kedar said that at the end of the
hearing, the state had given the Samaria Regional Council two weeks to carry out
the court’s decision. If the building is not sealed by then, he wrote, the state
will do so itself.
Kedar’s announcement does not necessarily bring an end
to the ongoing saga of the illegal building, however.
On October 13, 15
months after human rights group Yesh Din and two Palestinians petitioned the
High Court to order the state to carry out its own demolition order against the
illegal structure, the settlers submitted a detailed plan to the planning
authorities for approval. However, Kedar informed attorney Yitzhak Bam, who is
representing Yoel Bloch – a worshiper at the synagogue who recently petitioned
the court against sealing the building – that submitting the plans could not
prevent the authorities from enforcing the sealing ruling
Still, despite the civil administration’s original order to
demolish the structure, the court has ruled only to seal it and leave it
standing. As such, if the plans are approved retroactively, there is a
possibility that the building will again be available to the
Yesh Din attorney Shlomy Zecharya said this was doubtful,
because the planning authorities could not approve a single building and would
have to approve the entire illegal outpost, which is one of those that former
prime minister Ariel Sharon promised US president George W. Bush would be
removed. The state is apparently in a quandary as to how to cope with this
In the meantime, the state asked the court to give it 45 days
to update it on the progress made in carrying out the court’s ruling.
is very saddening that such a simple act as enforcing a High Court ruling drags
on for such a long time and that this happens without any legal or substantive
justification,” Zecharya told The Jerusalem Post