Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein 370 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Demolitions of illegal homes on private Palestinian property must be a top
priority, Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein said on Thursday in a letter he
wrote to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe
He chastised Netanyahu and Ya’alon for not taking the matter
seriously enough. In particular, he remarked that it was important the IDF
adhere to the July 24 time-table set for the demolition of a home and a portion
of a road built on private Palestinian property in the Amona outpost, located on
the outskirts of the Ofra settlement.
He said he could not agree with the
lack of enforcement that exists in Area C of the West Bank.
is not satisfactory, Weinstein wrote.
“It violates the rule of law. It
violates human rights. It violates personal property rights,” Weinstein
He wrote that State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, in a report he
presented on Wednesday, attacked the lack of enforcement and criminal
investigation into building violations in West Bank Jewish
Criminal enforcement is an important tool, Weinstein
But it doesn’t absolve the government from providing clear
priorities in this area, he said.
He recalled that in a February 2011
meeting Netanyahu had said that his government’s policy was to remove buildings
on private Palestinian property and to authorize structures on state
Protecting private property must be high on the governments’ list
of priorities, he said.
But the non-governmental group Yesh Din
immediately attacked Weinstein’s letter as disingenuous, in light of his
statement at the bottom with respect to the Amona outpost.
On behalf of
the Palestinian landowners, Yesh Din had petitioned the High Court of Justice
against the 50 families that live in Amona. The court had initially ordered the
outpost demolished, but at the last moment agreed to delay the demolition in
light of settler claims that they had recently purchased some of the
The court said it would allow time for the settlers to air
their claims before the Jerusalem Magistrates Court. But the court said homes on
property without purchase claims should be removed by the 24th of this
It did not clarify how many homes would need to be removed to
satisfy this ruling.
Settlers had said that only one home and a portion
of a road needed to be taken down.
But until Weinstein’s letter was made
public on Thursday, it was not clear that they were right.
Yesh Din said
it estimated that some 30 homes in the outpost should come down on July
“Weinstein’s notice is a clear statement of intent; a clear court
decision. If an ordinary citizen did that, they would be jailed,” Yesh Din
There is no question that Amona is situated on private Palestinian
property, Yesh Din said.
They explained that on the one hand Weinstein
speaks of the importance of removing illegal homes on private Palestinian
property and on the other hand, he speaks of ignoring a court dictate to remove
Yesh Din warned that it would petition the High Court of
Justice against Weinstein, if the Amona demolition ruling was not carried out on
The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the
Gaza Strip had no response to Weinstein’s letter.