Givat Assaf
Givat Assaf Flash 90

The High Court on Monday ordered the state to dismantle all structures in Judea and Samaria that Arabs claim is on land belonging to them. The decision primarily affects four communities – Givat Haroe'eh in the Samaria community of Eli, Ramat Gilad and Giv'at Assaf (also in Samaria), and Mitzpeh Lachish, near Nehogot, outside Hevron.

The decision came in response to a petition by Peace Now, which claimed that the state was “dragging its feet” on previous orders by the Court to demolish structures in these communities. The state was ordered to pay Peace Now's court costs of NIS 25,000.

In its decision, the Court slammed the State for failing to follow through on previous orders to demolish structures. “We do not take solace from the behavior of the State regarding buildings on private Arab property,” the Court said in a statement. “At first, the State decided it needed two years to decide whether or not to confer legal status on these communities. Then, it decided to study the possibility of legalizing only some of the communities, and not others. All this has taken place very slowly, and the State seems determined to stretch out the process even further.

“The decision to evacuate and demolish these buildings is a painful one, because of the effect the process will have on residents, who may not have other places to live. Nevertheless, we cannot agree to this lengthening of the process of legalization by the State, its failure to enforce the law, and allowing these illegal structures to remain standing for so long,” the Court said.

“It is sad that we have arrived at such a situation,” said Judge Miriam Naor. “It is sad that we are forced to rely on promises made by the State that turn out not to be promises. We may have to take more 'concrete' steps to enforce our decisions in the future,” she said, without specifying what those steps might be.

A spokesperson for the State said it was preparing a response.