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Civilian Outpost Sues IDF For Illegal Demolition of Jewish Homes

Residents of Yad Yair have sued senior IDF officials over the destruction of their community. The demolition was illegal and unnecessary, they say.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/24/2009, 9:20 AM

Residents of Yad Yair, in the Binyamin region, have filed a damage suit against senior IDF officials over the destruction of their community in 2008. The demolition was carried out solely in order to punish residents of the area, they argue, and took place without legal justification.

Not only was the destruction unjustified, plaintiffs say, it was carried out without prior warning, thus depriving residents of the community of their legal right to a hearing. IDF officials did not not warn residents that their homes were to be destroyed, and even lied about the impending operation the night before, plaintiffs say, assuring residents that troops were in the area on a counter-terror mission, and not in preparation for a demolition.

At the time of the demolition, a temporary Supreme Court order delaying destruction of Yad Yair was in effect, residents of Yad Yair claim. Residents say that much of their personal property was needlessly destroyed during the demolition.

The suit has been filed against Judea and Samaria district commander Brigadier-General Noam Tivon, Civil Administration head Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai, and Binyamin Brigade commander Colonel Aviv Reshef.

Plaintiffs are demanding NIS 432,290 from the two officials responsible for coordinating the demolition – Tivon and Reshef.

In response to the lawsuit, IDF spokesmen accused Yad Yair residents of attempting to intimidate military officials. “The IDF rejects any effort to threaten commanders in order to discourage them from carrying out the tasks assigned to them by the state of Israel,” they said.

Buildings in Yad Yair were destroyed legally, “with authorization and authority,” they continued.

Yad Yair was established 18 years ago in memory of terror victim Yair Mendelson of Dolev. Residents of the community say they purchased the land on which the town was built from a local Arab, but the Civil Administration has refused to register the sale.