High Court criticizes Israeli government for ´zigzagging´ on settlement construction (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Tomer Zarchin and Chaim Levinson 05/14/12)
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High Court judges on Sunday condemned the Israeli government
for "zigzagging" on its decisions regarding settlement construction
in the West Bank.
On Sunday, the High Court discussed the petition by Shaarat Abu
Sharifa, a Palestinian woman from Kafr al-Dik, who requested that the
state halt the construction of a new neighborhood in the neighboring
settlement of Alei Zahav since its access road crosses her land
The government´s position opposed the use of the access road, if it
was in fact on private Palestinian land. However, after it was
revealed that this was the case, the state changed its position. A
government representative, lawyer Uri Keidar, requested permission to
use the land, stating that there is no alternative access path.
During the Sunday morning hearing, Justice Miriam Naor criticized the
government´s change in position on the issue. Maor told Keidar
that "the government zigzagged here." In response, Keidar, on behalf
of the government, requested at least a year to propose an
alternative for the road. Naor replied "the words ´at least,´ are the
most offensive." Justice Esther Hayut asked, "why does it take so
long to make a professional decision? Why is it impossible to work in
a more reasonable timeframe?"
As the hearing concluded, the justices issued the government an order
demanding an explanation as to why the road is still in use.
Regarding the petition to halt construction, the justices granted the
government a period of one month, before the court will reconvene to
reach a final decision.
Meanwhile, a couple, residents of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El,
filed a petition in the High Court together with The Legal Forum for
the Land of Israel, against the panel justices and Supreme Court
President Asher Grunis, following their rejection the government´s
petition to reevaluate the decision to evacuate and demolish the
The couple also demanded that the demolition order be pushed back in
anticipation of a Jerusalem District Court ruling regarding the
ownership of the land on which the five houses in question were built.
The couple complained that they were not involved in the petition
filed by the Palestinians claiming ownership of the land. The Ulpana
residents claimed that they paid for their homes in full over a
decade ago, and their homes must not be demolished.
Two days ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conevened a special
committee to discuss the destruction of the five houses in the Ulpana
neighborhood. In discussions that have continued for weeks, the
possibility of forming a law circumventing the high court has been
raised, in order to restore the status of the homes in question. The
discussions last weekend also included Shaul Mofaz, Kadima Party
chairman and recently appointed Deputy Prime Minister.
The high court rejected the government´s request to re-open the case
concerning the evacuation and demolition of the Ulpana section of
Beit El. The ruling decided that the government committed to the
evacuation and demolition of the houses by July 1, 2012, andd there
are no extenuating circumstances sufficient enough to warrant
reassessment of a High Court decision. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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