Itamar settlement hilltop 311 R.
(photo credit: Abed Omar Qusini / Reuters)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has asked the state to wait until after the
elections to legalize the Mitpze Lachish outpost, located on state land in the
South Hebron Hills.
The state referenced his opinion in a legal document
that it submitted to the High Court of Justice on Wednesday in response to a
2009 petition by Peace Now, which had demanded that the state execute demolition
orders against Mitzpe Lachish and five other West Bank outposts.
initially issued the orders in 2004, but they were not carried out. Peace Now,
which monitors settlement activity in the West Bank, filed a petition with the
court in 2006, and the case was closed when the state said it would take down
When the state failed to do so, the organization
resubmitted its petition to the court in 2009. On Wednesday, the state filed
information to the court on the status of the six outposts.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government, the state has changed its attitude
with respect to West Bank outposts.
It has stated that it plans to
legalize those on state land and remove those on private Palestinian
Mitzpe Lachish is the only outpost of the six that is fully
located on state land. Four others – Mitzpe Yitzhar, Ma’aleh Rehavam, Ramat
Gilad and Givat Ha’roeh – are on land with mixed status.
outpost, Givat Assaf, located off of Route 60, is built on land that the state
classifies as belonging to private Palestinians.
The High Court had
initially asked the state to demolish Givat Assaf by July 1, but agreed to
extend the deadline until February 2013, to allow the Ministerial Settlements
Committee to examine the issue and new information that has emerged.
state mentioned in Wednesday’s document that settlers had purchased some of the
property on which the modular homes stood. It also noted that five new modular
structures had been added to the outpost, as well as a play area.
state said it planned to demolish three homes on private Palestinian property in
Mitzpe Yitzhar and Ma’aleh Rehavam.
The state added that in Ramat Gilad,
homes on private Palestinian land had been relocated according to an agreement
between the government and the settlers.
In its response to the court,
the state also took issue with Peace Now’s having lumped together all six
outposts in one case. It pointed out that the issues surrounding each were very
different. As a result, it said, it was difficult to adjudicate them
Peace Now plans to submit to the court a response to the
“The government is doing its best to avoid enforcing
the law,” said the group’s executive director, Yariv Oppenheimer.
finding new excuses every time.”