Landowners band together to fight highway

By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY
October 8, 2007 13:17

The controversial Highway 531 appropriates 4,400 dunams (some 1,100 acres) of private land.

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The Supreme Court has authorized 42 landowners from Kfar Shmaryahu, Ra'anana, Herzliya and Rishpon to join dozens of other landowners in a joint appeal against the planned Highway 531, reports local.co.il. The 42 will join a group of landowners who launched an appeal in February this year against the appropriation of 4,400 dunams (some 1,100 acres) of private land for the controversial east-west highway. According to the report, the landowners proposed an alternative plan that would see the highway run underground in certain areas and offer them building rights on the land above the tunnels, rather than the authorities simply requisitioning the land and paying them compensation. The national infrastructure committee rejected the proposal, and the landowners appealed to the courts. But according to the report, after the appeal was launched it became apparent that the highway plans would affect much more land than had been thought, and that many landowners did not even know that their properties were designated for confiscation. Lawyers recently petitioned the Supreme Court to allow these landowners to join the appeal, and the court agreed. The landowners' lawyer Oded Israeli said requisitioning this amount of private land was "unprecedented" in Israel's history and the highway plans were being made "without any consideration" for the landowners and without checking any alternatives. He said the plans would not only affect landowners along the planned highway route, but also thousands of other residents in the area. No hearing date for the case was reported.


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