|Apartments in Ulpana oupost in danger of being evacuated .(Photo by: Tovah Lazaroff)|
State wants to change unauthorized outpost policy
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Gov’t asks to be released from pledge to demolish Ulpana homes this week, says decisions must take policy impact into account.
The state is looking to change its policy mandating the blanket removal of
unauthorized Jewish structures on private Palestinian property in the West Bank,
the attorney-general told the High Court of Justice on Friday.
government still prioritizes dealing with this issue, the state said, but each
case cannot be viewed through the same narrow lens.
the outposts must be made also from a global perspective that take into account
the policy impact on other such cases, the state said.
Not all instances
of unauthorized construction on private Palestinian property are alike, the
state said, and the impact of home demolitions in a certain region, must also be
taken into account, it added.
In light of this pending policy shift, the
state on Friday asked the court to release it from its pledge to remove 30 such
homes in the Ulpana outpost by Tuesday, which are constructed on land the state
classified as belonging to private Palestinians.
The state had made that
pledge last year in response to a 2008 petition Yesh Din filed on behalf of the
On Friday the state told the court that it planned to
submit a new government policy within 90 days regarding unauthorized
construction in the West Bank, including with respect to Jewish homes on private
It further asked the court to re-open the case
regarding the Ulpana homes and to reexamine it based on that new policy. It also
noted that it was concerned by some factual discrepancies that had been
presented to the court with respect to the Ulpana homes.
At present, the
state said, the High Court deals with petitions with respect to unauthorized
West Bank construction on a case-by-case basis, even though a decision in one
case has implications on others.
The issue of the Ulpana, the state said,
is a good example of an individual case with broad based implications for other
outposts and homes in settlements built on private Palestinian
The state said that this case would impact similar pledges it
made to the court to remove homes in the outposts of Givat Assaf by July 1 and
in Amona by the end of this year. According to the state, these homes were also
constructed on private Palestinian property.
Separately, the state noted
that the High Court of Justice has also ordered the removal of all the
structures in the Migron outpost by August 1.
The state said the Ulpana
homes, built on the outskirts of Beit El, were not the only instances in that
settlement of construction on private Palestinian property.
At the same
time that it debated the Ulpana case, the court also examined a Yesh Din case
regarding unfinished construction in the Beit El settlement on private
Palestinian property, the state said.
Earlier this month the state asked
for a delay in the planned demolition date of those structures to allow for the
authorization of a zoning plan for that area of the settlement.
a meeting on the issue was held with representatives of the Prime Minister’s
Office, the Justice Ministry, the Civil Administration and settler leaders. The
Civil Administration explained that outside of these two areas, there were other
homes in Beit El, in some cases structures from the 1980s, which were built
without property authorization on private Palestinian land.
situations exist in other West Bank settlements, the state said.
Sunday, the High Court of Justice is expected to hold a hearing with respect to
the state’s request earlier this month to delay the demolition of unfinished
homes in Beit El.