Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis issued a temporary injunction on
Wednesday afternoon preventing the evacuation and demolition of the Ma’aleh
Rehavam outpost after security forces razed nine structures in a surprise raid
on the small Gush Etzion hilltop community in the morning.
Rehavam is included in a longstanding Peace Now petition asking the High Court
of Justice to enforce the destruction of six West Bank outposts, built without
In the past the state has told the court it looked to
authorize the outpost, which is adjacent to the Nokdim and Kfar Eldad
settlements, because it was built on state land.
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now
said that in the past year, settlers had built additional modular homes in a new
section of Ma’aleh Rehavam, and that some of those were on private Palestinian
She added, however, that she did not know if the homes that
were razed were on state land or on the plots that belonged to
The Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria said only
that the structures it demolished were built illegally and that demolition
orders had been issued against them.
Although demolition orders had been
issued against the outpost in the past, the 35 families who live there thought
they no longer applied since they knew the state was looking to authorize the
homes. In addition, they believed that if the IDF moved against the outpost,
they would know in advance in the context of the court case, as has occurred with other
Therefore, many residents left for work on Wednesday morning,
leaving very few people in the outpost, when a large convoy that included civil
administration staff, cranes, border police and soldiers arrived.
Chaimov, whose home was not destroyed, said she looked out her window and was
shocked to see the convoy.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, what is happening,”
the young mother told The Jerusalem Post
later in the day, as she held her baby
in her arms.
Scattered on the hill behind her were piles of rubble where
the modular structures had been; four had been homes to families, three were
under construction, and two were not used as homes.
She immediately began
making phone calls to her husband and to whomever else she could think
The outpost’s attorney Amos Fried said phone calls he received from
residents led him to believe that the civil administration planned to demolish
the entire community.
Within an hour he had filed an emergency brief
before the court, which issued its injunction by 4:30 p.m., he said.
plaintiffs have four days to respond, Fried said. But the injunction stays in
effect until the court decides otherwise, Fried said.
left the outpost before noon, hours before the injunction was issued. But Fried
said he had no way of knowing if they had planned to return later that day or on
According to the Sasson Report from 2005, Ma’aleh Rehavam was
built without permits in October 2001 with the help of NIS 700,000 from the
Construction and Housing and Ministry.
Fried, who entered the case in
2010, said he had argued for two years that the initial orders against the
outpost were technically flawed and thus the state cannot move against
Police said that Wednesday morning’s operation was carried out
peacefully and that no one was arrested.
Right-wing activists held two
protests in the capital later in the day.
Jerusalem police arrested three
demonstrators in the afternoon who burned tires in the middle of the Begin/Herzl
junction, blocking traffic. Firefighters quickly extinguished the
One of the demonstrators also slashed the tires of a police car on
the scene, according to Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben- Ruby. Police
opened an investigation.
Police arrested another seven people in the
evening after a few dozen people protested across from the Knesset and tried to
block the road.
The Bayit Yehudi Knesset faction discussed Ma’aleh
Rehavam at its meeting. Party officials said the fate of the outposts and the
Levy Report that recommended to authorize them would be discussed in coalition
talks, but was not a precondition for entering Prime Minister Binyamin
A source in the party expressed concern that what
happened to Ma’aleh Rehavam could be a message from Netanyahu that he intends to
make similar moves with other outposts when his government is
“The evacuation is painful, tragic and immoral,” Bayit Yehudi MK
Yoni Chetboun said. “Still, because things like this happen, Bayit Yehudi has
the responsibility to act with all its might and have an influence for the
people of Israel.
That is why we were elected to the Knesset – to fight
for the Land!” Other party parliamentarians sent out messages to the media about
MK Eli Ben-Dahan said the incident was very serious,
given that the new government was likely to approve the Levy
“With a little bit of goodwill, these homes could have been
authorized,” MK Orit Struck said.
Melanie Lidman, Lahav Harkov, Ben
Hartman and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.