The Civil Administration last week attempted to uproot trees, including fruit trees, planted by residents of the Jewish town of Nokdim, after local Arabs claimed ownership of the land.
The trees were planted over four years ago, on barren land belonging to the State, located near homes in Nokdim. Since then, the town's residents have cared for the trees continuously.
Last week Tuesday, residents of Nokdim received a notice that the Civil Administration would be arriving the next day to uproot the trees. The decision was made by the Civil Administration itself, following an appeal by a leftist organization which was later supported by residents of nearby Bedouin towns.
That appeal claimed that the land in question belonged to these local Bedouin, but did not provide proof of such.
Nokdim residents responded Wednesday with an appeal of their own, appealing against the Civil Administration's decision. When the Civil Administration arrived to uproot the trees, they were informed that an appeal had been submitted to the Supreme Court, and that a temporary order preventing the uprooting would be issued within less than an hour.
Nevertheless, the Civil Administration official in charge of the operation insisted on uprooting the trees quickly, before the temporary order could be issued.
With the help of several MKs, including former MK Uzi Dayan, who spoke to the Civil Administration chief, the forces left Nokdim to wait until the Supreme Court had issued its ruling. Later in the day, the Supreme Court rejected the residents' appeal outright due to a technicality and other issues.
One resident of Nokdim told Israel National News - Arutz Sheva: "Instead of dealing with the appeal and easily contradicting the appellants' claim, the State preferred to simply give up and carry out an unnecessary uprooting."
"This criminal helplessness on the part of the State, which caves again and again to every appeal by extreme leftist organizations to the Supreme Court, instead of dealing with them and ensuring they are rejected under the law, again and again hurts the individual settlers and the entire settlement enterprise.
"As of now, we are concerned that the trees may be uprooted at any moment, and we ask for immediate intervention to change the Administration's decision."
Another resident said, "One of the Border Police officers told a crying child who was hugging a tree that if she did not let go of the tree, he would forcefully remove her."
Israel National News - Arutz Sheva has has reached out to the Civil Administration for comment, and will update this article when comment is received.