Mitzpe Avihai outpost demolition 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The cabinet is to meet within weeks to discuss its policy on regulating illegal
construction in five West Bank outposts, the state told the High Court of
Justice on Thursday.
to Senior Deputy State Attorney Uri Keydar, cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser is
organizing a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and other officials to
“consolidate its [the government’s] response” to the issue of illegal buildings
on state land in Ramat Gilad, Mitzpe Yitzhar, Mitzpe Lachish, Givat Haroeh and
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Keydar’s comments were made in response to a 2006 Peace
Now petition, which asked the court to order the state to evacuate and remove
illegal buildings in the five outposts.
Some of the buildings were
constructed on private Palestinian land and others on state land, but without
the requisite formal planning permits.
Three of the outposts – Givat
Haroeh, Ma’aleh Rehavam and Mitzpe Lachish – were on a list of 24 outposts
constructed after March 2001, which past governments promised the United States
would be demolished.
Peace Now Director Yariv Oppenheimer slammed the
state’s response to the court, including its announcement about the upcoming
“The response is a disgrace and an insult to the concept of the
rule of law,” Oppenheimer said. “The Likud primary [set for January 31] and the
settlers’ political strength has caused government officials to fall in line
with gross violations of the law, and to defend them in the High Court of
The Prime Minister’s Office would not confirm any details of
the planned meeting. An official told The Jerusalem Post that there “will be a
meeting with the ministerial committee that deals with this issue, to discuss
how to move forward.”
The announcement about the meeting comes after
Netanyahu met with Barak, Aharonovitch, Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein and
other senior officials in March to discuss various options for dealing with the
illegal buildings referenced in the petition.
In Thursday’s response to
the High Court, the state said that meeting laid the foundation of a policy for
dealing with illegal construction on both private and state land in the five
outposts and in outposts named in other petitions. Measures would also be taken
to regulate illegal construction on state land “in specific areas and according
to other relevant considerations.”
However, the state did not provide any
details regarding those areas or considerations.
The state’s response
also emphasized the government’s attempts to reach agreements with settlers over
outpost demolitions. Keydar noted that in November, the High Court agreed to the
state’s request to delay the dismantling of illegal buildings on private
Palestinian land in Givat Assaf until July 2012, to give state officials time to
reach an agreement with the outpost’s residents.
Earlier this month, the
court agreed to another three-month delay in demolishing homes built on private
Palestinian land in Ramat Gilad, after the state said that officials were
working toward a “peaceful resolution” to illegal construction.
recent months, the state has conducted negotiations with settlers with the help
of Minister-without- Portfolio Bennie Begin.
On December 15, security
forces demolished homes built illegally on private Palestinian land in Mitzpe
Yitzhar, Keydar said. A recent check determined that the outpost residents had
not rebuilt the homes, he added, but had constructed a new building on survey
land, which is currently undergoing a process to change its designation to state
The state is taking steps to demolish that building, Keydar said.