Trucks and cranes building a new road for Civil Administration vehicles to access the outpost during the demolition of 15 homes..
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The High Court of Justice agreed on Wednesday to delay by three months the planned demolition of 15 homes in the Netiv Ha’avot outpost, located in the Elazar settlement in the Etzion Bloc.
The homes had been slated for demolition on March 6, but the court said the families could wait until June 15 to leave, so as to give the state enough time to build alternative modular homes for them.
Earlier this month, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria authorized a temporary site, known as plot 91, for the homes on undeveloped property on the outskirts of the Alon Shvut settlement, also in the Etzion Bloc. Funds for the site were allocated only this week.
Without the court approved delay, the families would have had to live in hotel rooms for three months at a likely cost of NIS 2.25 million.
The cabinet allocated this budget on Sunday, in case the court insisted on a March 6 demolition.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads Bayit Yehudi, and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the same party welcomed the court’s decision as an important “humanitarian” gesture that would allow the families to move directly to their temporary homes in Alon Shvut.
It expected that they would remain in those homes for three years, until the Netiv Ha’avot outpost is authorized as a new neighborhood of Elazar, and permanent homes can be built there.
The two ministers had put forward a proposal in an effort to ensure the court would accept the June date, with the 15 families promising to abide by the decision of the High Court with regard to the delay, so as to avoid a forced evacuation.
Bennett and Shaked also promised to ensure that Sunday’s cabinet decision to legalize Netiv Ha’avot would be implemented by the Civil Administration, which has oversight on the bureaucratic process of authorization.
Netiv Ha’avot was illegally built in 2001 with NIS 300,000 from the Construction Ministry. Multiple court cases have been filed against it on behalf of the nearby Palestinian village of El-Khader, which claims ownership of the land on which the outpost is built.
A 2014 land survey found that 26 of the Netiv Ha’avot homes were on state land, but that another 15 were located on “survey land.” Survey land is property whose ownership status cannot be determined and which could belong to Palestinians.
Peace Now filed a petition to the High Court of Justice against those 15 homes, of which six are only partially located on survey land.
Bennett and Shaked noted that it was the Peace Now petition that led the government to declare its intention to authorize the outpost.
“We thank the extremeleft organizations for its success in helping to create a new community in Judea and Samaria that will not be uprooted,” the ministers said.