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Court Backs Expulsion of Arab Squatters Near Tel Aviv

Ruling comes after seven illegal buildings demolished in Arab settlement in southern Judea, located on IDF firing grounds.
By Uzi Baruch, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/12/2014, 1:02 PM

Demolition (illustration)
Demolition (illustration)
Flash 90

Monday bore tidings of more Jewish buildings in Judea and Samaria being demolished by the state, but also of enforcement of the construction law against Arab infringements in two separate cases.

A regional court in Lod rejected a petition against a Magistrates Court ruling, thereby backing the orders to evacuate illegal structures on lands in the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Kassam, located east of Tel Aviv.

The court ruling noted that the state's evacuation was conducted in accordance with the law, and had no legal defect.

In making the decision, the court supported the state's position throughout the proceeding, in which it has argued that state lands are a public resource, and that there is a public interest in evacuating illegal squatters, so as to be able to market the lands to the wider public.

Last October 18 residents of Kafr Kassam, where the state lands were squatted on, were arrested in connection with a weapons smuggling ring that brought lethal weapons from Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled areas over the 1949 Armistice lines.

Seven illegal buildings destroyed on IDF firing grounds

In a separate incident Monday, security forces demolished seven illegal buildings in Khirbat Al-Tawil in southern Judea, which were built without building permits on IDF firing grounds.

Most of the buildings were constructed on the ruins of previous structures, similarly demolished for their illegal status.

They were destroyed after the owners had their petitions to the High Court overturned, on the grounds that they did not exhaust other avenues open to them before submitting the High Court motion.

The IDF Civil Administration noted that "the buildings were established illegally, on firing grounds used by the IDF regularly for training activities in order to maintain a high level of preparedness and ability."

"In the IDF in general, and particularly in the Central Command, we view with utmost importance the preservation of training grounds from squatters. ...Mere presence in the area constitutes a violation of the law and is dangerous, because training with live fire is conducted on the grounds, among other things," added the statement.

Time was given before the demolition

Regarding the demolition, security sources remarked that "the petitioners were given a period of time to submit a request for construction permits, or to evacuate the illegal structures."

After those courses of action were not taken, "the demolition was conducted by certified authorities in the Civil Administration."

The structures demolished included a water cistern, a new walled structure that had no roof, concrete foundations on the site where brick rooms stood, a netted structure for shade, as well as portable toilets where a brick structure used to stand.

Additionally, packages of bricks and cement bags placed at the site of a brick structure that was previously destroyed, as well as two tents, were also affected by the demolition.