The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday night dismissed a lawsuit filed by
settler-related organizations who claimed ownership over lands referred to as
part of the Ulpana outpost near Beit El.
The dismissal, requested by the
plaintiffs, could have significant consequences for developments at Ulpana as
the lawsuit had hung over legal disputes surrounding the outpost.
of the lawsuit could mean that the settlers trying to maintain a foothold in the
disputed area have decided to back off.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit,
the organization Amana, is linked with the Yeshiva of Beit El and Al Watan, and
is said to be involved with buying West Bank properties for settlers. The
plaintiffs are represented by attorney Doron Nir-Zvi, who did not respond to
inquiries by press time regarding why they withdrew the lawsuit.
represented most of the defendants in the lawsuit as well as in a petition to
the High Court of Justice to press for removal of portions of the
It claimed that the dismissal constituted a final court ruling
in favor of at least most of the Palestinian defendants.
Regarding a few
Palestinian defendants, Yesh Din acknowledged that the court had only struck its
case from the court docket, meaning in theory a lawsuit could be refilled
against those defendants.
However, Yesh Din claimed that even those
defendants who could be re-sued had not been at the center of the case until
now, and that the key defendants had won their case.
Often a court will
award costs against a plaintiff who files a lawsuit and withdraws it without
either settling or going to trial, but here the court did not award costs to the
The lawsuit was filed in September 2011, three days before
the petition for removal of portions of the outpost was due to be heard before
the High Court.
Yesh Din claimed that the premature withdrawal of the
lawsuit showed that it had been a mere stalling tactic to “throw salt in the
eyes of the court and the public.”
It noted that the plaintiffs claimed
ownership to portions of the land based on a contract of sale from 2000 that the
police had already declared invalid.
The plaintiffs had claimed that the
contract was valid and that, among other things, it was for the court, not the
police, to determine a contract’s status.
In the case before the High
Court, the state last week was given until January 1, 2013 to either destroy or
remove the five buildings in dispute.
The state was also fined and
ordered to pay NIS 7,500 to Yesh Din for delays, some of which had less concrete
explanations and were not related to delays the court gave the state relating to
the Jerusalem District Court case that was decided Monday.
families who had lived in the disputed buildings left at the end of
Previously, the state had been due to remove or destroy the
buildings by July 1 and then by November 15.
The buildings being removed,
according to the court, relying on the state’s opinion, were built on private
Palestinian land outside a military seizure order which covers the land where
Beit El is built.
There are nine remaining buildings on private
Palestinian land, but Yesh Din never brought a petition for removal of those
buildings, which were already inhabited when the petition was
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.