Supreme Court: Does Regulation Law apply to Ofra houses?

Supreme Court asks the state whether the Regulation Law can be applied to the nine houses in Ofra, which would obviate their demolition.

Shlomo Piotrokowski ,

Residents of the nine houses at Knesset press conference
Residents of the nine houses at Knesset press conference
Hezki Baruch

The Supreme Court asked the state and the Arab petitioners Monday to respond by Wednesday to the petition submitted by residents of Ofra not to destroy the nine houses slated for demolition in Ofra but rather to seal the houses.

The judges are essentially asking whether the Regulation Law passed by the Knesset is applicable to the nine houses which would mean that the State could at a later stage regulate their status.

Earlier on Monday, the families living in the nine houses slated for demolition submitted an urgent request to the Supreme Court to allow the sealing of their houses instead of their demolition. The families claim that the Regulation Law has created a new planning option which could enable the eventual legitimation of the houses instead of their demolition.

The petition cited a number of cases in which the Supreme Court allowed the sealing of houses as an alternative to demolition because of a new planning option which had arisen.

The Supreme Court had rejected two weeks ago the postponement of the final date for the evacuation and demolition of the nine houses in the community in Ofra which had been slated for demolition by the court.

The decision was adjudicated by a majority led by the court's president, Miriam Naor and judge Yitzhak Amit as opposed to the dissenting opinion of judge Elyakim Rubinstein, who asked to defer the evacuation of the houses by three months for 5 out of the 9 families living in the houses.

Naor stated that "despite the fact that the request to extend the date by three months was rejected, we express our hope that at the time of the evacuation the petitioners will leave peacefully as they declared in their affidavits. No person has a right to use violence towards the enforcement authorities or any other person."

Rubinstein said that since the land in question is anyway not going to be transferred to the people claiming ownership over it, there is no justification not to act beyond the letter of the law towards the residents, since "in a situation where the repeated wandering could be prevented from 22 children and in a situation where there is no Palestinian anyway who can enter the land at present and who may be caused injustice by this postponement."