Legal foot-dragging
Legal foot-draggingRegavim

After five years of non-enforcement by the Civil Administration against illegal Arab construction, the Supreme Court's patience is running out.

Justice Noam Solberg ordered the state to update the court within two weeks about the date of demolition of illegal Arab construction on state land in Gush Etzion, for which demolition orders were issued five years ago.

About five years ago, the Shalaldeh family from the Sa'ir village invaded the land near the community of Pnei Kedem in Gush Etzion, took over the access route to the community and built a whole cluster of illegal buildings on it, hewing into the mountain, erecting terraces and cultivating land for agricultural purposes.

As a result of an appeal by the Regavim organization to authorities, a demolition order was issued for some of the buildings but five years later, the orders were still not enforced. Regavim petitioned the Supreme Court in 2016. The state was required to update where enforcement procedures stood, but repeatedly postponed its response, until at one point it even stated that some of the oversight files in the Civil Administration offices had been lost and could not be located.

Only recently, the state updated that the cases had been found and that the appeals filed by the invaders had been rejected and therefore there was nothing preventing enforcement from being carried out, but nevertheless did not use the time to execute the orders.

Judge Solberg ruled that the state had delayed enough with the execution of the order and must update the court within two weeks on when it would demolish the buildings and enforce the law.

"Proceedings are running lazily. Since then, there has been no real progress. Things aren't going well," Solberg wrote. "About 5 years from the date of the demolition order, the respondents must announce within two weeks the date of execution of the order."

"Justice Solberg's decision is a worthy one that demonstrates the systemic failure in the face of tens of thousands of illegal buildings erected in Area C in the past decade," says Regavim. "After 5 years of legal procrastination over a demolition order for a single building, it is time for the state to take significant steps and implement it. If the state continues to drag out every demolition order for years rather than carry it out effectively, the situation will only get worse."