MKs: Court Decision on TA Tents Shows System's Hypocrisy

A Tel Aviv court ordered the city to halt demolitions of TA tent cities because they have been on the ground for more than a month.

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David Lev,

tent city
tent city
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Tel Aviv Civil Court Judge Malka Sapinzi issued an order late Wednesday preventing the Tel Aviv Municipality from continuing to demolish illegal tent cities on Rothschild Boulevard that, despite guarantees by protest groups that they are to be removed by Friday, show no signs of coming down.

In her decision, Sapinzi pointed to the fact that the tents had been set up over a month ago as a reason to prevent the city from demolishing them until a further hearing -  setting off a storm of criticism among right wing MKs and residents of Judea and Samaria, who said that no such consideration has been shown to what the government terms “outposts,” with the latest example the demolition of three homes in Migron earlier this week.

In her decision, Sapinzi wrote that "after reviewing the city's demolition order and the appeal by tent city dwellers against it I have decided to suspend the demolitions. These tents have been there for at least a month. Taking this fact into consideration, and also the fact that little warning was given for the eviction of tent dwellers – and due to the fact that the evictions were to take place at night, as well as taking into account complaints by protesters that police acted violently against them – I believe that the proper course of action between the competing interests of the city and tent dwellers requires an injunction against the demolitions, so that both sides can make their arguments in court.”

Right wing MKs said that the decision “showed the extent of the government's hypocrisy” in its policy of demolishing homes in Judea and Samaria, also called Yesha. “There is no question that the city streets do not belong to the tent protesters, and there the court says that the tents may not be demolished because they have been there for a month. Meanwhile, the High Court has been after the government to demolish homes in Migron and elsewhere for years, even though there is no evidence that the land on which those homes were built belongs to Arabs. And the Migron homes have been standing for far more than a month. But because these are homes belonging to 'radical right wingers' instead of 'progressive' Israelis, the courts – and government – employ this double standard.

“Not to mention the other reasons Sapinzi suspended the demolition,” the MKs added, “the violence and the nighttime evictions – things that are taken as a matter of course in Yesha, but are used by the court in Tel Aviv as a reason to suspend the tent demolitions. Sapinzi's decision makes the hypocrisy of the court system and the government crystal clear."