A watchdog group working to combat illegal Arab construction across Israel praised a ruling by Israel's Supreme Court, and called on the Defense Ministry to carry out the demolition of an illegal Bedouin encampment east of Jerusalem as soon as possible.
Israel's Supreme Court yesterday rejected a series of petitions filed in an attempt to bar implementation of evacuation and demolition orders that have been pending for nearly a decade against the illegal Bedouin outpost known as Khan al Ahmar.
The outpost is situated only a few meters away from Route 1, the highway that connects Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, on land within the municipal boundaries of Kfar Adumim, a few miles outside Jerusalem's city limits.
"These petitions are the fifth round in the saga," wrote Justices Meltzer, Amit, and Baron in the decision. "This Court's decision on the earlier petitions discussed the complex human aspects involved in the evacuation, en masse, of Khan al Ahmar's residents; at the same time, implementing the demolition orders is unavoidable. Regrettable as the evacuation may be, the recent ruling of this Court is final and binding."
Several months ago, after a legal battle that has dragged on for almost a decade, the Supreme Court gave the green light for demolition. Immediately after the decision was handed down, the Palestinian Authority filed a number of new petitions on behalf of the residents of Khan al Ahmar, in an attempt to undermine the court's ruling.
Regavim, an NGO dedicated to preserving Israel's land resources, initiated the legal fight for this strategic piece of land in 2009, when it petitioned the Supreme Court to compel the State to demolish the illegal outpost. In this most recent round of petitions and counter-petitions, Regavim was still leading the battle.
Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling came down squarely on the side of the State, accepting its arguments and rejecting the unfounded, shifting claims of the Palestinian Authority.
"We welcome the court's self-evident decision, although it should have been implemented ten years ago," said Avi Segal, attorney for Regavim. "The Supreme Court made a clear statement: The Palestinian Authority and its European benefactors will no longer be permitted to carry out hostile takeovers of land under full Israeli jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria, particularly in the Maaleh Adumim region. We call upon the Defense Ministry to implement the Supreme Court's ruling in a timely fashion, and to apply the policy and principles expressed in this important decision in a systematic and thorough manner wherever enforcement is called for."