Daily Israel Report

Peretz House Won't be Demolished - For Now

The house of the family of IDF soldier Eliraz Peretz is safe, for now - but it will eventually be demolished, the government told the High Court
By David Lev
First Publish: 5/3/2011, 8:02 PM / Last Update: 5/3/2011, 8:28 PM

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On Sunday, organizations representing Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria praised the government for its apparent change of heart on authorizing new communities (also called “outposts” by the mass media) in Judea and Samaria.

The announcement was made in advance of the government's response to a petition to the High Court by Peace Now and other leftist groups demanding that homes in the new communities be demolished because they were either built without authorization, or built on lands claimed by Arabs, as opposed to state lands. For example, after the announcement Sunday, MKs Aryeh Eldad and Ze'ev Elkin, chairmen of the Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset, said that they “ congratulate the government for removing the threat of demolishing of these communities, and allowing them to develop normally as legally authorized towns in Judea and Samaria.”

But their congratulations was apparently a bit premature, based on the results of a High Court session discussing the issue on Tuesday. The government said that it still intends to demolish homes on lands claimed by Arabs – but that it would postpone the demolition of one home, the one belonging to the widow of Eliraz Peretz, who was killed last year fighting Gaza Arab terrorists.

Peretz's family lives in the new community of Givat HaYovel in Eli, one of the communities targeted in the leftist High Court petition, which demands that the homes there be demolished, and Peretz's home has been on the list of homes to be demolished for months. But the demolition of the home of a war hero who was killed in battle saving his fellow soldiers, as Eliraz Peretz did, turned into a public relations nightmare for the government – and for Peace Now.

As such, the leftist organization agreed to a postponement of the demolition of the Peretz home, which it claims is built on private Arab land – until the Peretz family finds somewhere else to live. No date for a reconsideration of the matter was given, so there is, as of now, no time limit on the amount of time the Peretz family needs to vacate the house – but the other houses around the Peretz home, which Peace Now claims are built on Arab land, are slated to be demolished.

And what of the houses built on state land? In response to the Peace Now petition demanding that those homes be demolished because they were built without the legal procedures required (submission of a building plan, legal status of the land, etc.), the government said that as far as it was concerned, any home built on state land could be provided legal status, given the following of certain procedures, and that the fair thing would be to allow residents to proceed with those legal steps. The first step that will be undertaken in Givat HaYovel – as well as in Haresha, a new community next to Talmon named in the petition – will be the conducting of a survey to determine whether the lands are indeed state lands.