HCJ to consider Amona petition

On Friday, judge issued injunction prohibiting outpost's demolition.

The High Court of Justice is due to convene on Sunday morning at 11:30 to consider a petition submitted by the Amona Agricultural Settlement Cooperative Society and three families living on the illegal outpost it established against the government's plan to demolish nine permanent residential structures. On Friday, High Court Justice Salim Joubran issued an interim injunction prohibiting the government from demolishing the structures until the court ruled on the petition. The structures were allegedly built on private, Palestinian-owned land without building permits and in violation of stop work orders issued by the Military Government in the West Bank. The government has announced that it plans to demolish the structures some time this week. In their petition, submitted by Attorney Naftali Werzberger, the residents of Amona asked the court to postpone the demolition orders and refer the issue back to the Military Government's planning council. They charged that the state had been hasty in issuing the orders because it had not granted them a hearing and had not raised the possibility of retroactively legalizing the buildings. They charged that the decision to demolish them was based on political rather than legal considerations. In July 2005, the Peace Now organization petitioned the High Court of Justice, calling on the government to implement the demolition orders it had issued for the nine structures and accusing it of procrastinating. The state responded that it would destroy the buildings by the end of January. Two weeks ago, the court rejected the Peace Now petition on the grounds that it was redundant, since the government had made a clear commitment to destroy the buildings. At the same time, the court ordered the government to wait one week to give the residents of Amona time to submit a petition of their own against the demolition orders. On Thursday, Werzberger submitted the petition.