Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The High Court of Justice on Monday ordered the state to demolish five apartment
buildings housing 30 families in the West Bank Ulpana outpost by July
The ruling by justices Salim Joubran, Uzi Vogelman and Supreme Court
President Asher Dan Grunis rejected a request by the state to reopen the Ulpana
case, so that the legal status of the land on which the homes were built could
It also turned down a request by the state to allow 60
days so that it could reassess its outpost policy.
Grunis said the court
had examined the state’s claims, but had “not found it proper to grant the
request to reopen the proceedings.”
Grunis said that the principle of the
court was that once a judgment had been made in a case, then there could be no
further discussion on the matter, and that court hearings would end, and no
party could be subject to further proceedings for the same cause.
principle is in the public interest,” the Supreme Court president added. “It
allows the legal process to be delimited, and prevents harassment of a litigant
over the same issue, and it prevents double jeopardy, and it ensures the proper
operation of the justice system.”
This same principle, Grunis said, also
reflects the separation of powers in that it marked the end of the judiciary’s
handling of an issue.
Execution of the court’s judgment, Grunis added,
was not the domain of the judiciary but was passed to the executive branch of
The Supreme Court president also noted that court
judgments must be executed within the period prescribed by the
Grunis said that the court had not found the state’s arguments to
be exceptional, and noted that the state’s main argument was that the political
leadership wished to review the implementation of their policies on West Bank
“The state has not pointed to any legal precedent that supports
its request to reopen the case, nor has it revealed any new facts to back up its
request,” Grunis said, noting that the state knew before the court’s September
ruling on Ulpana that the settlers had commenced civil legal proceedings to
clarify the land ownership issue.
“What, then, is the reason to grant the
exceptional remedy of reopening legal proceedings that had been heard for
several years, the main facts of which the state does not refute, and about
which an injunction has been issued that includes the state’s obligations to act
a certain way?” Grunis asked.
Grunis said that though the court did not
find any grounds to grant the state’s request to reopen the case, the justices
would allow the state a 60-day delay to implement the demolition
The court also ordered the state to pay the petitioners’ court
fees of NIS 15,000.
The High Court also rejected a request by three
Meretz MKs, including MK Zehava Gal-On, and by MK Ahmad Tibi, to join the
“The MKs’ claims and those of their factions have already been
presented clearly and exhaustively by the petitioners and we are convinced that
their addition [to the petition] will add nothing to the debate,” Grunis
The Ulpana homes were built without the proper permits on land
classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.
Yesh Din petitioned the High Court of Justice against the homes on behalf of
Palestinian claimants to the land.
Settlers have claimed that the land
was purchased from Palestinians by a yeshiva in Beit El and Amana, the
construction arm of the settlement movement.
The outpost was built on the
outskirts of the Beit El settlement with funding from the Construction and
Housing Ministry and the homeowners received state grants and bank
The High Court, however, has not recognized the legality of
the sale. The land status is now under adjudication before a Jerusalem District
Court in a civil proceeding.
Last May, the state said it planed to take
down the homes within a year. The court then closed the case in September.