High Court judges had some harsh things to say about government officials who authorized permits for homes that had been built and are under construction in a neighborhood in Talmon, but they rejected a petition by Arab and leftist groups who claimed that homes in the Givat HaBrecha neighborhood of the town should be demolished.
The court decided that the construction in the neighborhood was part of a long-term and wide-ranging development plan for the town, and the plan itself was legal and could not be dismissed.
At stake were 56 homes and a school in the neighborhood that were built without permits, according to the petition filed on behalf of neighboring Arabs by the far-left Yesh Din group. The petition claims that the homes are built on land that was zoned for agricultural, not residential use, and that the homes were built on a piece of land neighboring Arabs need to access their farmlands.
The court derided the decision to build on the land without clearing the status of the area with all legal authorities, but decided that the construction was legal, since it was part of a development plan that dates back to 1992.
“Construction undertaken in this manner is very damaging to the rule of law,” the court said in its decision. “Legalizing an illegal construction project that was already built damages the faith of the people in the legal system, and is likely to encourage illegal activities – such that the lesson to be learned here may be that one can benefit from committing an offense. Nevertheless, the court said that it would not interfere with the authorization for construction issued by the Defense Ministry and the planning commissions, since from a procedural point of view, there was no problem whatsover with the authorizations.
An attorney for Yesh Din called the decision “worrying. The authorization of this illegal outpost will prevent Arabs from the neighboring village of al-Janna from reaching their homes. This decision failed to put a stop sign in front of efforts to illegally build at outposts,” the attorney added.
Attorney Akiva Sylvetsky, representing the Talmon residents and the Samaria (Shomron) and Binyamin Regional Councils, said that Yesh Din's view of the situation was skewed, at the least. “Yesh Din tried to claim that the decision to build on the land in question could cause damage to 'the rule of law,' but that was not the court's view at all in this case. The court ruled that the decision to authorize construction was reasonable, as was the decision to authorize future building, given the fact that the construction is in line with proper planning procedures and would have been authorized even before construction on any homes in the area had begun. The court relied on the fact that this neighborhood had already appeared in development plans for Talmon dating from 1992, even before construction began,” Sylvetsky said.