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Large Scale Demolition Action Expected in Susiya in the Next Few Days
Makor Rishon -
Palestinian Construction/High Court of Justice Halts Palestinian Construction Near Susiya
Makor Rishon (p. 3) by Yishai Friedman -- The High Court of Justice judges issued over the weekend an interim injunction to the residents of the Palestinian village of Susiya, forbidding them to build new structures. The judges decided to accept the petition of the Regavim movement against the authorities in the West Bank and the residents of the village, and a hearing will take place in three months in which the court will receive an update on what has transpired on the ground.
The panel, headed by Justice Asher Grunis, together with Justices Hanan Meltzer and Dafna Barak Erez, held a hearing Wednesday on the petition by the Regavim movement, after receiving new information that was disclosed by the movement’s operations coordinator, Ovadia Arad, in which new construction by the Palestinian villagers was documented. In the petition, the petitioner claims that members of the Nawajaa family, some of whom reside in Yatta in the southern Hebron hills, have taken over state lands and erected two illegal outposts near the settlement of Susiya. In response to a query posed by Regavim to the Civil Administration, the latter said that the matter is being dealt with, but Regavim sources state that in practice, the Civil Administration has been dragging its feet. After repeatedly approaching the responsible authorities in the West Bank over the demolition of illegal structures, the members of Regavim petitioned the Supreme Court.
The petition claims that every Saturday, violent demonstrations are held by left wing activists and residents of the village, which leads to the IDF issuing security closure decrees. “The Nawajaa family members, who reside on the site, are involved in violent demonstrations on a weekly basis and are encouraged by anarchists, who arrive at the scene nearly every Saturday, cause provocations and violent demonstrations and foment unrest in the area.” Regavim claimed that it is strange that the IDF issues closure decrees every week instead of implementing the existing demolition orders. “When the respondents decide to take the extreme measures of issuing security closure decrees without any legal proceedings, you can’t help but wonder why the respondents refrain from carrying out the demolition orders issued against the illegal structures which are the subject of this petition, which house the criminals who create this security situation, disrupt public order on a regular basis and endanger the residents of the nearby settlement of Susiya.”
The court’s decision to halt the Palestinian construction was “celebrated” by Regavim and even termed “historic.” Attorney Amir Fisher, who represented Regavim, said that it was “an unusual achievement for the rule of law, the settlement movement and Regavim. For the first time, the court has forbidden Palestinians to construct new structures in a specific area.” Regavim said that ,“It was inevitable after we had proved that the Palestinian were showing contempt for the rule of law and the petition to the High Court of Justice and are continuing their illegal construction,. It is a warning sign to Palestinians who build illegally and are trying to take over state lands illegally.”
Rabbis for Human Rights, who represent the Nawajaa family, responded: “We hope to prove, in the substantive hearing, that according to the Torah and Israeli law one cannot use double standards, and according to Rabbi Ben Ezra and Rabbi Shimshon Ben Refael, it is wrong to discriminate against a weak group of nearly destitute people, all the more so when they are not represented in the places in which laws are passed, plans are made, judgment is passed and policy is carried out. Those among the settler public that truly seek neighborly relations with the Palestinians in any future political settlement, have an interest in not attempting to wipe out an entire impoverished village. It does not create neighborly relations and is not a victory for them.”
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