The Civil Administration – under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense - uprooted a vineyard near the Israeli town of Yitzhar in Samaria Monday morning, following a petition submitted by Palestinian Arabs to Israel’s High Court of Justice.

Despite the fact that no Arab ownership of the land on which the vineyard was planted, some four years ago, has ever been proven, the Jewish owners of the vineyard received a “Disruptive Land-Use Order.” This unique military order allows removal of agriculture, even when no conflicting claim of ownership is submitted or proven – and is used by the Civil Administration exclusively against Jews.

Only 300 meters away from the uprooted orchard, in Area C on the outskirts of the nearby Arab town Burin, stands an illegal mosque for which the Civil Administration issued a demolition order over 15 years ago.

The Regavim Movement appealed to the High Court of Justice to force the Civil Administration to enforce the demolition order, and the government gave its solemn commitment to uphold the law – but the illegal mosque stands, undisturbed, to this very day - and dozens of additional illegal structures have been built around it in the interim.

The illegal mosque
The illegal mosqueCourtesy of Regavim

Regavim’s spokesperson called upon Minister Betzalel Smotrich to tackle this absurdity on his very first full day in office: “The Disruptive Land-Use Order is a draconian measure that has been applied in a wildly discriminatory fashion, and should be struck down without delay. This was the conclusion reached years ago by the Special Commission headed by Justice Edmond Levy, and we call upon Minister Smotrich to take this long-overdue step.”

צביא סוכות מוחא נגד העקירהערוץ 7

Moshe Shmueli, Regavim’s Field Coordinator for Judea and Samaria, added: “For 15 years, the Civil Administration has failed to enforce the law against nearby illegal Palestinian construction – despite its commitment to the High Court of Justice. On the other hand, it has taken swift, even brutal enforcement action and uprooted a Jewish vineyard, costing the owners hundreds of thousands of shekels in losses. The rule of law must be equal, or it cannot be called the rule of law. This morning’s demolition is one more example of how far off track the Civil Administration has strayed.”