High Court postpones outposts hearing

Peace Now petitions to implement eviction notifications issued two years ago.

illegal outpost 88 (photo credit: )
illegal outpost 88
(photo credit: )
After a hearing on a Peace Now petition demanding the government issue eviction orders to six illegal outposts in the West Bank, the High Court of Justice on Wednesday postponed the discussion to a later date. The petition was based on notifications the IDF issued to residents two years ago. Settlers' petitions against the notifications have been rejected. The outposts concerned are Ramat Gilad-Givat Hadegel, T-Junction-Givat Assaf, Ma'aleh Rehavam, Mitzpeh Lachish, Ali 762-Givat Haroeh (Epirion Hill) and Mitzpeh Yitzhar (Givat Yitzhar). In the petition, Peace Now called on the government "to take all necessary action to implement the notifications" and said, "All the outposts regarding which notifications were issued are illegal and without permit. They were established without government permission, they do not have building permits, they are not in accordance with the outline plans for the area, and they are situated on land that belongs partly to the state and partly to Palestinian landowners." The state called on the court to dismiss the petition out of hand, on the grounds that Peace Now should not have lumped all six outposts into one petition. "Different families live in each of the outposts," wrote the state's representative, attorney Danny Horin, adding that the residents of each outpost should have the right to respond to the petition based on their own specific situation. One of the aims of the petition has already been achieved. Five of the notifications issued by the army were due to expire in May and the sixth in August. Even after the High Court had rejected petitions by outpost residents against the notifications, the army did nothing to implement them and they were in danger of expiring. As the date of the hearing approached, the government announced that it was extending the notifications by two more years. Having said that, the state then argued that the issue of dismantling the outposts "had significant diplomatic and security aspects" and should be left to the government. Horin also told the court that the cabinet had appointed a ministerial committee to deal with the issue. However, the head of the committee, Justice Minister Haim Ramon, told The Jerusalem Post that the committee would not deal with existing outposts but rather with how to prevent new ones from being established.