State: “Freeze Means No Manpower to Raze Illegal Arab Houses"

State admits to High Court that the construction freeze is taking up its manpower resources, and therefore it can’t raze illegal Arab structures.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 16:50

Supreme Court
Supreme Court
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The State admits, in a response to the Supreme Court, that the construction freeze imposed on Jews in Judea and Samaria is taking up its manpower resources, and therefore it is unable to raze illegal Arab structures.

 

The State was responding to a suit by the Regavim Association, demanding that a timetable be set for the implementation of outstanding demolition orders of illegal Arab houses in Judea and Samaria.

 

Some of the houses in question are 14 years old, and demolition orders were issued against them several years ago. In view of the lack of implementation of the orders, Regavim filed suit against the IDF's Civil Administration for not enforcing them – and lost. The Supreme Court accepted the Administration’s position that it has its own set of priorities for demolitions and that it does not want to be told how to act.

 

However, the situation changed recently when Supreme Court Justice Ayalah Procaccia ruled that even if the State has its priorities, it must still set a timetable for razing illegal houses. This decision – an interim ruling – was handed down in favor of ultra-left Peace Now, which had filed a suit against Jewish construction that it deemed illegal.

 

Using the decision favorable to Peace Now, Regavim promptly filed suit again, claiming that the new decision should be applied to the illegal Arab construction as well and that a timetable for knocking down illegal Arab structures must be formulated.

 

The State’s response to this latest suit was two-fold. First of all, it said that Procaccia’s decision was only an interim ruling, and not a binding one. Secondly and more significantly, the State maintained as follows:

“A substantial change has occurred of late in terms of the enforcement of planning and construction laws in the area – because of the suspension of construction proceedings in Judea and Samaria [i.e., the construction freeze – ed.] and the high priority given to the enforcement of this decision, and the relevant military orders that were issued. These decisions obligate the State to concentrate its resources at this stage on the efforts to enforce [the freeze].” (emphasis added)