Report: State prosecutors discriminate against Jews in W. Bank demolitions

Report State prosecutor

A report published on Sunday by Regavim, the movement for protection of national lands, accused the State Prosecutor's Office of discriminating against Jews. The report claims there is differential treatment of Arabs and Jews when it comes to responding to Supreme Court petitions regarding house demolitions in Judea and Samaria. According to the report, when Arabs petition the court against house demolitions, the State Prosecutors office drags its feet and fails to respond, resulting in many of the cases never coming before a judge and never being settled. The report states that when Jews petition the court to prevent the demolition, the prosecution responds rapidly and effectively and the houses are quickly demolished by court order. In both cases, after a petition is filed to the court, a temporary injunction is put in place and until the petition is heard, the house cannot be demolished. Regavim's study found 400 petitions, dealing with 700 Arab homes, which were still awaiting a response, but nearly none of Jewish settlers. In one case Regavim found that a petition by an Arab homeowner was unattended for 12 years. Regavim's lawyer, Amir Fisher, said that ongoing neglect by the state prosecution means that the injunction remains in place and the Arab structure is never demolished. "Any Arab construction violator in Judea and Samaria who petitions the Supreme Court gains immunity under the auspices of the state prosecution's Supreme Court division," read the report. "The report points to a clear political bias that cannot be mistaken among Supreme Court division lawyers," said Regavim director Yitzhak Zargari. "The movement will pass the report along to the Justice Minister and to Knesset members with a demand to examine the reports findings and provide answers to the public." In response, the Justice Ministry spokesman said that the ministry rejects the accusations of political considerations in judicial processes. "Demolition order priorities are set up by the relevant professional bodies, namely the defense establishment and the IDF. The Supreme Court division lawyers of the State Prosecutor's Office represent the respondents in the Supreme Court," the spokesman said. "It is worth noting that according to data collected on house demolitions in Judea and Samaria between 1997 and 2009, a total of 2,450 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished, compared to 1,230 Jewish-owned structures. "The numbers surely don't validate Regavim's claims."