Matan Kahana: Did Netanyahu, Gantz abandon settlers to High Court's mercy?

MK Matan Kahana (Yamina) said that the government will have abandoned the settlers to the mercy of the High Court of Justice.

The Mitzpe Kramim outpost. Picture taken March 25, 2015 (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
The Mitzpe Kramim outpost. Picture taken March 25, 2015
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
The government will have abandoned the settlers to the mercy of the High Court of Justice if it doesn’t authorize the West Bank Mitzpe Kramim outpost prior to the publication of the pending judicial ruling on the matter, MK Matan Kahana (Yamina) said.
Both he and Mitzpe Kramim resident Shai Maimon wrote about the outpost Tuesday in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
“We expect the full and immediate authorization of the place,” the two men wrote.
They said that the High Court of Justice was expected to issue a ruling on Mitzpe Kramim in the near future and asked Netanyahu and Gantz to act prior to that ruling.
“Mitzpe Karamim’s story reflects a clearly untenable reality. From the first petition and until today, almost a decade has passed. The residents have been left helpless in a situation where they cannot build even a single modular structure,” the two men wrote.
“The High Court announced that it will give a ruling on the matter by the end of the month, but no one knows how it will rule or if construction will be allowed afterwards,” the men wrote.
“It is very difficult to complain only about the High Court when [Netanyahu and Gantz] stand at the head of a right-wing government. Is it possible that the government of Israel has abandoned its settlers to the mercy of the High Court? How has authorization of the place not been on the agenda of the day for a government headed by both of you?” they asked.
The outpost has been one of the test cases on whether the legal principle of the Market Regulation used within sovereign Israel can be applied to homes built on private Palestinian property, such that those homes could be legalized and not demolished as they had been in the past.
This Market Regulation principle stood at the heart of the Settlement Regulation Law, that the Knesset approved in 2017, which allowed unauthorized settler homes built on private Palestinian property to be legalized, under a system by which the Palestinian land owners would be compensated.
The High Court of Justice struck down that law as unconstitutional in 2020. It was a ruling that left open the question of what would happen to close to 4,000 settler homes built on private Palestinian property, many in already existing settlements.
The issue had not seemed so pressing when it seemed that Israel stood poised to apply sovereignty to the West Bank settlements.
Now that the possibility of annexation appears to be fading, however, the fate of the homes is once more up in the air.
According to a past legal document written by the state, the Mitzpe Kramim outpost was built in 1999 and recreated by the IDF a short time later to agricultural lands that were part of the master plan for the Kochav Hashahar settlement.
Those lands had initially been seized by the IDF to be used as a firing zone. The outpost was developed with the help of the World Zionist Organization’s settlement division, but the homes and the community itself were never authorized.
In 2011, three Palestinian petitions were filed to the High Court of Justice against the outpost, claiming that the outpost was built on private Palestinian property. In response, Mitzpe Kramim residents in 2013 turned to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, a venue that was better suited to deal with the question of ownership.
In 2018, the Magistrate’s Court ruled that the Market Regulation applied and that the homes could be legalized. But at the time, there was a law that allowed for that process to occur.
The issue is now once again before the High Court of Justice, which according to Kahana and Maimon is expected to issue its ruling this month.