Supreme Court:
Judea and Samaria authority heads will not be investigated

Supreme Court rejects Peace Now petition asking court to order Judiciary investigate authority heads for illegal construction involvement.

Mordechai Sones ,

Justice Hayut
Justice Hayut
Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL

Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Justices Uzi Fogelman and Dafna Barak-Erez today rejected a petition filed by Peace Now and Leftist operative Hagit Ofran against the Attorney General.

The petitioners asked the Court to order the Attorney General to launch an investigation against five regional councils in Judea and Samaria and their heads on suspected involvement in illegal construction.

These are the Binyamin Regional Council, the Samaria Regional Council, the Gush Etzion Regional Council, the Mount Hebron Regional Council, and the Jordan Valley Regional Council.

The petitioners also requested that an investigation be opened against Amana, the settlement movement of Gush Emunim and Binyanei Bar Amana Building and Development Company Ltd.

The State argued the petition should be dismissed because of the broad discretion given to the authorities as to whether to launch an investigation against potential suspects. On the other hand the State has undertaken to consider establishing a unit that will act to oversee construction offenses in settlement.

The authority heads explained that disparities were created as a result of the complex legal situation, because of which the required political, municipal, and administrative procedures were not completed, but in no way were these criminal actions as claimed by the petitioners.

"Those who pay the price for the complicated legal situation are those Israeli citizens who sought to exercise their natural right to settle in the area and build their homes. Most of them bought their homes directly from the State or the State prepared the lots on which their homes were built," the response states. In addition, it said that "the same settlers live under an absurd and difficult reality where communities and neighborhoods are in complete stagnation."

Authorities also claimed that Peace Now is trying to use criminal law in lack of good faith to advance the organization's political agenda.

The panel of judges rejected the petition. The judges accepted the State's position that a unit be set up to deal with enforcing settlement construction regulations.

Binyamin Council head Yisrael Gantz responded to the ruling, saying, "Peace Now works in false ways and it's good that the Supreme Court didn't cooperate with them this time. It's an organization that purports to be concerned about human rights but in the petition sought to crush human rights and civil rights of hundreds of thousands of civilians just because they are Jewish. It's called racism. Their activities drive us to expand and grow as we do everyday, in fact."