Givat HaUlpana
Givat HaUlpana Israel news photo: Flash 90

Kalman Libeskind, a popular columnist in the daily Maariv, offered proof in his blog Wednesday that the High Court's insistence that homes in Givat HaUlpana be razed is purely political.

Libeskind pointed to a similar case that involved a dispute over homes built without permission on privately owned land. Unlike Givat HaUlpana, the owner in this case was a Jew: property entrepreneur Moshe Zar.

In 1982, Zar legally purchased 92 dunams of land in Samaria, near the village of Sarta. Sometime during the 1990s, the state gave permission to the adjoining community of Barkan to build a neighborhood on the land, without Zar's knowledge. In April of 1999, several months after the development of the neighborhood began, Zar's lawyer wrote to the IDF's Civil Administration and informed them of the situation. According to Libeskind, the state was slow to reply and the matter dragged on for years.

In 2007, Zar turned to the court and demanded that the state cease building on his land. The state admitted that Zar was right: the neighborhood was built on his land. In February of 2008, the state filed its defense. In it, it explained that despite the fact that Zar owns the land, it has no intention of demolishing the homes it built.

"In the course of this period, dozens of housing units were built on this area, which currently is the center of dozens of families' lives," the state argued. "It is obvious that the requested relief of eviction is not implementable."

"In Beit El, too, people have been living for years," explains Libeskind. "In Beit El, too this neighborhood is the center of the lives of dozens of families. But as far as the State Attorney's Office is concerned, when a Jew is filing the petition, his land cannot be handed back to him because it is "not implementable" to uproot dozens of families from their homes. When an Arab demands his land at the price of kicking out 30 families – that is very implementable."

The State Attorney argued that the proper way to solve the problem would be to pay Zar compensation – which is precisely how the residents of Givat HaUlpana would like to solve their problem vis-à-vis the alleged Arab owner.

Libeskind asks: "Could it be that the state has one solution for Jews and a different one for Arabs?"

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