construction tekoa 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
A lawyer for Regavim, an organization fighting illegal construction
by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank, charged
on Wednesday that the state and the High Court of Justice are violating
basic civil rights and discriminating against Jews by refusing to
demolish illegally built Palestinian housing, including near Mizrat
el-Kabilya, in the Ramallah District.
The lawyer, Doron Nir-Tzvi, was responding to a High Court
decision handed down last week rejecting his demand that the state
provide a concrete timetable for destroying the Palestinian buildings
near Mizrat el-Kabilya, against which the Civil Administration of Judea
and Samaria had issued demolition orders.
The court accepted the state's response, including an argument
to the effect that the army was devoting all its energies to enforcing
the government-ordered building freeze in the Jewish settlements and
outposts in the West Bank and that the illegal Palestinian building was
a low priority matter.
The High Court heard a petition in 2006 which had demanded that
the Civil Administration enforce the demolition order and had rejected
it on the grounds that the state had the right to determine its own
timetable for enforcing demolition orders according to its own set of
However, on July 12, 2009, in an interim decision regarding a
Peace Now petition, the court had rejected the state's argument that it
had the right to enforce the orders according to its own priorities.
The petition called on the state to enforce demolition orders it had
served against illegal construction by Jewish settlers in the illegal
outposts of Hayovel and Hersha. It ordered the state to inform the
court exactly when it intended to demolish the buildings and to begin
holding hearings for those affected by the decision.
In response, Regavim filed a new petition demanding that the
state also set a date for demolishing the illegal Palestinian buildings
in Mizrat el-Kabilya. It said the interim decision regarding the Peace
Now petition established new case law, and therefore the court should
reconsider its earlier decision to allow the state to set its own date
with regard to the illegal Palestinian buildings.
Last week, the High Court accepted the state's position and
rejected the petition. "The state stressed that of late there has been
a substantial change regarding the matter of enforcing the planning and
building laws and this is because of the [housing-start freeze] and the
high priority given to the enforcement of this decision. This obliges
the state to focus its resources on enforcing it."
According to Regavim, "the state prosecution has officially
admitted that enforcing the building freeze against the settlers
obliges it to ignore illegal Palestinian construction."
The state, in its response to the petition, added that while
the demolition of the buildings in Mizrat el-Kabilya was of low
priority, the army gave high priority to demolishing illegal
Palestinian construction which posed a threat to security. The state
said it had destroyed six illegal Palestinian structures in the past
few weeks and intended to destroy 20 more by the end of January.