State: Settlers have 2 weeks to seal outpost synagogue

If the building in Elmatan is not sealed by then, the state will do so itself, representative says.

El Matan synagogue 311 (photo credit: Gur Dotan)
El Matan synagogue 311
(photo credit: Gur Dotan)
The state informed the High Court of Justice on Thursday that it had granted a hearing to settlers protesting the sealing of an illegal building in the outpost of Elmatan, and rejected the settlers’ arguments.
The building was completed in violation of a court order to stop construction and is currently used as a synagogue.
The state’s representative, attorney Uri Kedar, told the court that the head of the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria had informed the settlers that there was no legal reason not to go ahead with the court ruling to seal the building.
Kedar said that at the end of the hearing, the state had given the Samaria Regional Council two weeks to carry out the court’s decision. If the building is not sealed by then, he wrote, the state will do so itself.
Kedar’s announcement does not necessarily bring an end to the ongoing saga of the illegal building, however.
On October 13, 15 months after human rights group Yesh Din and two Palestinians petitioned the High Court to order the state to carry out its own demolition order against the illegal structure, the settlers submitted a detailed plan to the planning authorities for approval. However, Kedar informed attorney Yitzhak Bam, who is representing Yoel Bloch – a worshiper at the synagogue who recently petitioned the court against sealing the building – that submitting the plans could not prevent the authorities from enforcing the sealing ruling immediately.
Still, despite the civil administration’s original order to demolish the structure, the court has ruled only to seal it and leave it standing. As such, if the plans are approved retroactively, there is a possibility that the building will again be available to the settlers.
Yesh Din attorney Shlomy Zecharya said this was doubtful, because the planning authorities could not approve a single building and would have to approve the entire illegal outpost, which is one of those that former prime minister Ariel Sharon promised US president George W. Bush would be removed. The state is apparently in a quandary as to how to cope with this situation.
In the meantime, the state asked the court to give it 45 days to update it on the progress made in carrying out the court’s ruling.
“It is very saddening that such a simple act as enforcing a High Court ruling drags on for such a long time and that this happens without any legal or substantive justification,” Zecharya told The Jerusalem Post.