Palestinian woman petitions to evict settlers from Shvut Ami outpost

A Palestinian woman whose land has been seized by Jewish settlers 11 times in the past eight months petitioned the High Court of Justice on Tuesday, demanding that security forces evict the trespassers and establish a permanent presence to protect the property. "Since the seizure, the petitioner cannot access her land, and the government is not fulfilling its duty and carrying out the necessary actions to enforce the law and effectively drive away the trespassers," attorney Michael Sfard wrote on behalf of Badriya Amar. Shvut Ami was one of five illegal outposts established during Succot on September 30, 2007. Located near Kedumim, it is the only one of the five still occupied by settlers. In fact, the army and the settlers have been playing cat-and-mouse ever since the outpost was established. Security forces have removed the settlers 10 times since September 30, but they have returned and reoccupied the site 11 times and are still there now. In his petition, Sfard wrote that the security forces' failure to protect his client had caused her serious damage because the land was agricultural and provided her with an income. He added that since the original occupation of the land, he and Amar had conducted an "intensive dialogue" with the army and police in the West Bank. The dialogue has included repeated requests to evict the settlers and updates on developments at the site, including new construction, connections to water and electricity supplies, and the use of her property. The woman owns a building located on the land. Sfard accused the security forces of carrying out evictions that were just meant for show. "The evacuees are moved to a place close to the [petitioner's] land," he charged. "The security forces do not leave a force that could prevent the trespassers from returning. The result is that all of these so-called evacuations lasted somewhere between a few minutes and a few hours. Since the first occupation, the petitioner has not been able to return to her land." In April, settler activists told The Jerusalem Post the land had been abandoned when they took it over. Datya Yitzhaki of the Land of Israel Faithful, which first set up the outpost, denied Sfard's claim that the land belonged to a Palestinian woman. It was earlier owned by a Jordanian general and has been considered abandoned property since the end of the Six Day War, Yitzhaki said. She and settlement activist Daniella Weiss said there was no reason Jews could not build on the land.