(photo credit: AP)
Copying the tactics of left wing organizations like Peace Now and Yesh Din, the right wing settler organization Regavim petitioned the High Court of Justice Thursday to order the demolition of 257 illegal Beduin structures near Kfar Adumim
The move comes one day after the court ordered the state to demolish illegal Palestinian buildings east of Ariel.
All of the structures, which appear to be made of mud bricks and wooden beams, are located on state land within the boundaries of the Jewish settlements of Kfar Adumim and Ma'aleh Adumim, according to the petitioners, who are represented by attorney Amir Fisher.
For the past few years left wing movements like Peace Now and Yesh Din have hamstringed settlement growth by petitioning the High Court against illegal settlement buildings. Now settlers are using a similar strategy against illegal Palestinian building.
According to Fisher, there were a few Beduin tents situated on the land in the past. But in the past few years, Palestinians, some from nearby semi-nomadic villages, began settling in the area. The Palestinians have also made paths from the main highway to their homes which they use for their cars, donkeys and other animals. The donkeys, which are also used on Highway 1 itself, have caused a large number of fatal traffic accidents.
In addition, the inhabitants are in the midst of building a mosque and a school. Fisher told The Jerusalem Post that this was an indication that the Palestinians intended to establish a permanent settlement. He asked for an interim injunction to halt construction of the two buildings until the court rules on the overall petition.
The petitioners also charged that the Beduin settlement, which occupies hundreds of dunams of land, has taken over an area that was meant to be used for the future development of Kfar Adumim.
Furthermore, all past governments had made it clear that the area would remain part of the State of Israel within the context of a peace treaty with the Palestinians, said Fisher.
The new petition differs in several ways from the previous one regarding the illegal building in Yatma and Sauya, near Ariel. For one thing, the state has not issued demolition orders against the Beduin buildings, whereas it had already issued demolition orders against two buildings which were at the forefront of the petition and about 80 other buildings in or near the two villages.
On the other hand, according to the petition, the Beduin who have moved into the area are not indigenous to it but allegedly come from other parts of the West Bank.
Fisher told the Post that the petitioners have photographs of each of the 257 structures including details on their connections to the infrastructure, which they have handed over to the Israel Lands Authority.