(photo credit: Courtesy)
The High Court of Justice ordered the state on Monday to see to it that the
construction of five apartment buildings by settlers on private Palestinian land
in Beit El be halted immediately.
It also ordered the Beit El local
council not to connect the buildings to infrastructure.
hearing on Monday, the state informed the court that it was in the process of
mapping the illegal fences built by settlers around Ofra and other Jewish
settlements in the area and assessing their security needs.
it would remove all the fences that were not essential for security and that
prevented Palestinian farmers from Ein Yabrud and Silwad from accessing their
The Beit El petition was filed by the alleged owner of the land,
and the petitions against the fence were filed by Palestinian farmers from the
two villages. Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights provided legal
representation for all of them.
Regarding the Beit El petition, the state
acknowledged that it had issued stop-work and demolition orders against the
buildings but had done nothing to implement them. In the meantime, the buildings
were still under construction.
The state’s representative, Hila Gorni,
told the court that the civil administration did not have enough resources to
carry out all the orders that had been issued and that the Beit El structures
were not high enough on the army’s list of priorities for the state to implement
the orders against them.
The court made it clear it was impatient with
“‘Order of priorities,’ those magic words,” said Supreme
Court Justice Dorit Beinisch.
“Where does the state act in accordance
with these priorities?” Justice Hanan Meltzer added, “You always say ‘order of
priorities.’ Perhaps you don’t have enough resources.
They seem to be
only enough to take down one illegal building a year.”
out that the illegal buildings were being constructed on private Palestinian
land, a category that was high up in the order of priorities.
said the building had been going on for a long time and the state was using its
resources to prevent illegal construction in isolated areas of the West Bank,
while it was still in its early stages.
The court issued a decision
ordering the state to enforce the stop-work and demolition orders it had handed
out and to freeze the situation as it was. It also issued a showcause order
asking the state to demonstrate why the illegal buildings should not be
In the petitions involving the illegal fences and other
barriers erected by settlers, the court granted the state 90 days to complete
its examination of the situation and determine which fences could be removed. In
the meantime, the state promised that all requests by Palestinian farmers to
access their land would be processed quickly.