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(photo credit: AP [file])
The left-wing legal group Yesh Din on Sunday petitioned the High Court of Justice for an injunction to stop paving work on a dirt road that leads from the Eli settlement to the adjacent unauthorized outpost of Hayovel.
It the first time that NGO, which has filed a number of cases against illegal construction in Judea and Samaria including the unauthorized outposts, has tackled the illegal roads that lead up to these fledgling hilltop communities.
According to Dror Etkes of Yesh Din, the 1,400 meter road is on privately owned Palestinian property that belongs to the village of Karyut.
The road itself is also illegal, because it lacks the proper authorization from Israeli authorities and is not part of any master plan for the area, Etkes said.
"The army and the civil administration have confirmed that the road is being paved illegally," he said.
"The state has a responsibility to stop the work," said attorney Michael Sfard, who helped file the petition.
In it, he writes that work was first begun on the road in 2003 and then halted. At the time, olive trees belonging to Palestinians were destroyed, he said.
Now, Sfard wrote in the petition, work was being done to expand and pave the road. Its presence had robbed Palestinians of agricultural land and had made it more difficult for them to access the plots of land that remains in their possession, he said.
A civil administration spokesman confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that the work being done on the road was illegal. Stop work orders have been issued, but no concrete action had been taken, said the spokesman, who added that the matter was under investigation.
"There is a lot of illegal construction in the West Bank and the civil administration cannot go after everything at once," he said, adding that it was a matter of priority.
Avi Ro'eh, who heads the Binyamin Regional Council, in whose jurisdiction the road lies, said that when it came to the issue of legality, the settlers and the government did not see eye to eye.
While the government has determined that Hayovel, which was built in 1998 and is home to more than 22 families, is an outpost, Ro'eh said he viewed it as a neighborhood of the Eli settlement.
The road was being built by Eli to improve access to its outlying neighborhood. The people who live in the neighborhood of Hayovel had a right to a better road that would enable them to better travel to and from their homes.
More than two years ago, Peace Now petitioned the High Court to demolish 17 illegal homes built on the Hayovel outpost, but the court has yet to rule on the matter.
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