West Bank outpost 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The High Court of Justice Monday upheld a state request to delay the demolition
of the Givat Assaf outpost, located in the Binyamin region of the West Bank,
which had been scheduled for removal in December.
According to the new
schedule, the outpost would now come down in July.
State delays Givat Asaf, Amona outpost demolitions
Sfard, who petitioned the court against the outpost on behalf of Peace Now, said
that the legal response did not surprise him.
"Every child in Israel
knows by now that the government has no intention of evacuating outposts," Sfard
"This delay will only end with another request for an extension,"
he said, and added that through these kinds of measures, "de facto the
government is authorizing outposts." The initial petition involved six outposts,
out of which only one Givat Assaf is built entirely on land which, according to
the state, is privately owned by Palestinians.
But in December the state
still intends to demolish a few homes on two other outposts in the petition,
Ramat Gilad and Mitzpe Yitzhar, which are partially constructed on land also
classified as private Palestinian property. With respect to the other three, the
state has said it believes that they can be authorized.
delay was a welcome relief to settlers and right-wing politicians who believe
that it gives them time to press forward in their battle to compel the state to
reclassify as state land outposts or sections of outposts considered by the
state to belong to private Palestinians.
Groups such Peace Now and Yesh
Din have gone to court on behalf of the Palestinian owners with documented proof
of ownership. But settlers and right-wing politicians say they have a
contradictory body of evidence showing either that the land was purchased or had
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that he would
form an outpost committee to explore the land status in the West Bank, including
sections of outposts built on private Palestinian property. But he has yet to
name the members of that committee.
On Monday, he confirmed to the
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he would form the panel,
according to sources from the meeting.
Pointing to three homes in the
Migron outpost which the state demolished in September, Netanyahu defended
himself against accusations from left-wing members of the committee that he had
not done anything with regard to the outposts.
Unauthorized homes on
private Palestinian land should be removed, he said, but it should be done
through agreement with the residents and without violence. He added that the
issue also needed to be examined to ensure that the land had been properly