Legal sources criticize AG over bid to halt evacuation of West Bank outpost (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Tomer Zarchin and Chaim Levinson 04/29/12)
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
Legal figures expressed surprise that Attorney General Yehuda
Weinstein had thrown his support behind Netanyahu´s move to oppose
the demolition of the structures built on private Palestinian land in
the West Bank settlement of Beit El.
One Legal figure said on Saturday that Weinstein had gone far beyond
what had been acceptable to previous attorney generals, and
that "international law cannot be ignored. It´s hard to believe that
the High Court would support such a policy."
Referring to Beit El´s Ulpana neighborhood, the state told the High
Court of Justice on Friday that "the implications of the demolition
of the buildings could be severe" for the settlers. It said that
since the construction started in the 1980s, demolishing the
buildings could have "broader social implications" for other
construction in Beit El and in other settlements.
The head of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, said Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu "and his ministers are breaking a pledge to the
High Court in a crude and unprecedented manner and are placing the
settlers in the territories above the law." Oppenheimer said the
government had decided "to satisfy a few thousand settlers who are
members of the Likud Central Committee."
The people in the Ulpana neighborhood welcomed the government´s
In a statement, the residents said "all government officials now
understand that the Ulpana neighborhood is just the tip of the
iceberg of 9,000 housing units in Judea and Samara that the
government must find solutions for. In any case, in the Galilee, the
Negev, East Jerusalem and throughout the free world, flourishing
neighborhoods are not razed to the ground, even if the government
made a mistake and established a neighborhood on land where [legal]
arrangements had not been made."
Attorney Michael Sfard, who is working to have the buildings taken
down, said the government had "declared war on the rule of law."
The state´s announcement was signed by the State Prosecutor´s Office
and the Justice Ministry´s department of High Court petitions.
The state, which was responding to a High Court petition by Sfard,
says it is "well aware of the significance" of its reversal, but
that "circumstances require a reevaluation of the situation."
It said "the prime minister and the forum of [senior] ministers
request a reevaluation of the means for implementing the policy on
which they have decided" - referring to the demolition of the
It conceded that a probe by the Israel Defense Forces´ Civil
Administration "revealed that parts of the settlement of Beit El were
built over the years not in accordance with the law, in an area most
of which is on private Palestinian land."
But it had opted for "a reevaluation of the priorities of enforcing
the law in the region, along with the planning and ownership
implications and the political, public and operational aspects."
The state added that the "overall high priority of dealing with
construction on private land" would continue. But "according to the
new principles, each and every building should not be examined
narrowly, and priorities for enforcement cannot be set in Judea and
Samaria without seeing the whole picture." It said Beit El reflected
the "need for an updated policy."
According to Sfard, "the Israeli government today has declared war on
the rule of law. In its political zeal to help steal Palestinian
land, it is destroying the basis of values on which the state was
Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said on a visit to Ulpana on Friday
that he sought a way to allow the buildings to remain. He said "it´s
inconceivable that people who came to live here legally should find
themselves under threat of eviction." According to Shalom, the matter
should be treated as a land dispute and solved in the courts, the way
such disputes are solved on the other side of the Green Line. (©
Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/29/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY