Court gives state 60 days to form outpost policy

Allotted time is 30 days shorter than state had originally requested; Ulpana homes spared temporarily as part of ruling.

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The High Court of Justice on Sunday gave the state 60 days, instead of the 90 that it requested, to formulate a new policy with respect to unauthorized Jewish West Bank construction, including building on land classified by the state as belonging to Palestinian individuals.
The decision came in response to a state request to delay the demolition of five buildings under construction in the Beit El settlement. The structures are located within the settlement boundaries on land classified by the state as belonging to Palestinians.
They also lack the proper permits.
Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights petitioned the court against the homes in December 2010. Work on them has since been frozen.
In April 2011, the state told the court it would remove the homes within a year. This month it asked the court to delay the demolitions until the end of May.
However, during a hearing on the matter on Sunday, the state asked the court for a 90- day delay so it could formulate a new policy with respect to demolition orders against unauthorized Jewish construction in the West Bank.
Attorney Osnat Mandel, representing the state, told the court that there were a number of options under consideration. She noted that in the Ofra settlement the Defense Ministry had decided not to demolish unauthorized buildings that were populated.
The state needed to reassess its priorities, given the various situations that had arisen in regards to unauthorized building, Mandel said.
Attorney Akiva Silvesky, who represents Beit El, disputed the state’s claim that the homes were built on private Palestinian property and said that the homes could be authorized.
The justices gave the state 60 days to come up with a new policy, and said that any further decisions on the case would be made after that time.
Yesh Din executive director Haim Erlich said he feared the decision showed that the court would not stand firm against governmental pressure regarding Jewish West Bank construction.
The Beit El case is one of several about unauthorized building being considered by the High Court.
On Friday, the state asked the court to release it from its pledge to demolish 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost on the outskirts of Beit El. It similarly spoke of the need to take 90 days to formulate a new policy. The court has yet to respond to that request.
Separately on Sunday, the cabinet approved the construction of temporary homes on state land near the Psagot winery in the Binyamin region of the West Bank.
They will house the 50 families from the Migron outpost who are under a court mandate to evacuate their homes by August 1, because they are built on land classified by the state as belonging to Palestinian individuals.
In case the temporary homes cannot be completed by July 15, the state also approved placing temporary homes in the nearby Adam settlement, also know as Geva Binyamin.