IDF destroys 4 structures in W. Bank settler outpost erected to honor 3 slain teens

Attorney representing settlement disputed the Rabbis for Human Rights contention that the land belonged to private Palestinians, arguing that the structures were on state land.

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March 31, 2015 21:53
2 minute read.
A structure the IDF destroyed at West Bank outpost, March 31, 2015

A structure the IDF destroyed at West Bank outpost, March 31, 2015. (photo credit: GUSH ETZION REGIONAL COUNCIL)

 
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The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria destroyed four temporary structures Tuesday morning in an outpost that was erected last summer in honor of the three teens kidnapped and murdered by Hamas.

One of the structures served as a synagogue, and another to offer soldiers a warm resting spot in the area.

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The bodies of teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah were found at the end of June near Hebron, just a short distance away from the Karmei Tzur settlement. Its residents immediately left their settlement to protest the killing and erected the outpost there, which they called Givat Shorek.

Non-governmental group Rabbis for Human Rights then petitioned the High Court of Justice on behalf of Palestinian landowners who claimed ownership of the property.

The group’s spokesman Yariv Mohar said that the construction was an attempt by the Karmei Tzur settlers to expand the boundaries of their community illegally.

The state agreed that the structures were illegal and promised the court that it would remove them by the end of March.

The civil administration said Tuesday that it had forcibly removed the structures after multiple attempts to work out the situation with settlers. It added that the property in question was survey land – property whose status is unclear – and that only one of the structures had clearly been on private Palestinian property.



Attorney Yitzhak Baum, who represents Karmei Tzur, disputed the Rabbis for Human Rights contention that the land belonged to private Palestinians, arguing that the structures were on state land.

It is not within the High Court’s purview to investigate conflicting property ownership claims, he said, explaining that in instances of property disputes, the court would rely on the state’s assessment and then decide on a course of action.

The Palestinians, he said, “did not bring any proof that the land belongs to them.”

The only evidence they presented was a past agreement with the IDF that allowed them to access the property, Baum added, stressing, “There is no other proof.”

He conceded that the structures had been built without the proper permits, but noted that there were thousands of such structures in Judea and Samaria.

The Givat Shorek structures were destroyed for “political and nationalistic” reasons, he said.

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl appealed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to allow such destruction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.

“The nation chose a rightwing government,” he said.

“Now is the time to clarify that a right-wing government will protect the settlement enterprise and won’t allow the High Court of Justice to discriminate against and harm the settlements.”

Since 2011, Netanyahu has had a firm policy against Jewish construction on private Palestinian property.

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