(photo credit: Peace Now)
In a highly unusual move, the High Court of Justice fined two Israeli construction companies NIS 100,000 Thursday for continuing to build a new road in the West Bank settlement of Modi'in Illit in defiance of a previous court-ordered freeze on construction.
The country's highest court issued a temporary injunction barring construction work in a section of the settlement known as East Matityahu about a year ago following a petition filed by Peace Now against construction in the area.
A three-justice panel ruled that the companies had violated the court's temporary injunction by building a new road in the neighborhood.
Justice Ayala Procaccia harshly criticized the companies for violating not only the court's injunction but also construction and planning laws, which require valid construction plans and permits.
"The imposition of significant fines to the benefit of the state treasury will send a message that will deter further violations of the law at the site," Procaccia wrote in her ruling.
The court fined the Green Mount and Green Park Companies NIS 60,000, while the Haftziva Construction and Development Company was ordered to pay NIS 40,000.
The ruling is considered to be unusually severe due to both its essence and the size of the monetary fine meted out.