High Court nixes petition of demolition of West Bank school

Panel of justices say school, which was partially funded by the EU, is not a high priority for demolition.

311_gavel (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The High Court of Justice denied on Sunday a petition filed by the Regavim movement, which argued that the government should be ordered to issue a demolition order against a Palestinian school built near Beit Sira, 22 km. west of Ramallah.
Regavim, whose stated aim is to “preserve the lands of Israel for the Jewish people,” had asked the court to order the prime minister and defense minister, and the IDF’s Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria and Central Command to explain why they had not initiated demolition proceedings against the school, which it said had been built illegally.
The school is in Area C, under full Israeli control, where construction requires an Israeli building permit.
Regavim also said that the school building, which is designed to house 400 students, is “part of an organized PA program to build schools and mosques in Area C territory in Judea, Samaria and Binyamin,” to establish facts on the ground for a future Palestinian state.
In ruling to reject the petition, the panel of three Supreme Court justices, Miriam Naor, Esther Hayut and Hanan Melzar, said that in setting priorities for regulating Palestinian building in the area, the government is guided by security concerns. This particular school, which the justices noted was partially funded by the EU, was not a high priority for demolition according to these criteria.
However, the justices did criticize the fact that the school’s construction had continued despite a stop-work order and said that more must be done to prevent court injunctions being violated in this way.