Roads company in contempt, say landowners

Landowners in Kfar Shmaryahu are claiming that the Israeli National Roads Company (Ma'atz) has committed contempt of court by stating that it has paid them compensation for requisitioning their land when it has not, reports The landowners have filed a contempt of court lawsuit in the Petah Tikva Magistrates' Court, saying that not only has the company disobeyed a court order to pay compensation, but it has also made false declarations to taxation authorities that it has paid. According to the report, in May this year a court gave the landowners six months to give up the lands requisitioned by the company for the construction of Highway 531, which will eventually join the Trans-Israel Highway (Kvish 6) in the east to the Ayalon Highway in the west. The court ruled that if the company and the landowners could not agree on the amount of compensation to be paid to the landowners by October 30, then the company should at least pay the amount to which it did agree. But the landowners are saying that despite more than a month having passed since the deadline and despite the company's having taken control of the land, they have not yet been paid. They say they were surprised to receive notification from taxation authorities stating that Ma'atz had reported that it had paid them compensation. A lawyer for the residents said the alleged false reports to the taxation authorities were actions of "the utmost gravity" which constituted a contempt of court. No response was reported from the company.