Northern Efrat, overlooking the site of the future neighborhood
Northern Efrat, overlooking the site of the future neighborhoodצילום: רגבים

Israel's Supreme Court is expected to discuss a petition submitted by Peace Now which is representing 13 residents of Beit Lehem (Bethlehem) who are demanding that the state allocate land from the area of the future E'itam neighborhood in the city of Efrat, based on the claim that the state discriminates against Palestinians when allocating land.

The neighborhood in question is located on state lands, in Area C which according to the Oslo accords is under Israeli military and civil control.

According to Peace Now's claims, the allocation of the area to Efrat is marked by unlawful racist and nationalist-based discrimination, and it ignores the interests of the area's Palestinian residents and their connection to the land. During the legal proceedings, the competition of judges, led by the court's president Esther Hayut, ordered that the state answer why it won't consider allocating the area to the petitioners. In response Peace Now demanded an interim order be passed, freezing the neighborhood's planning until a final verdict is reached.

Avraham Binyamin, manager of the Regavim organization's policy department, stated: "This is a delusional petition that ignores the reality on the ground, a reality in which 70% of Areas A and B, which make up 40% of Judea and Samaria and are completely under Palestinian control, is available for planning and building, and there is no justification to allocate another centimeter of Area C which is already subject to a land grab by the Palestinian Authority. It's superfluous to point out that in Areas A and B there is no Israeli construction whatsoever, therefore the claim of discrimination is completely absurd."

Binyamin adds: "We have no expectations from the far-left organization, everyone knows which interests they protect and how they work against the state of Israel. We expect the Supreme Court, which a week ago shot down our petition against the racist '40 law', which discriminates against Jews when buying land in Judea and Samaria, under the claim that it doesn't get involved in political matters. We expect the Supreme Court to deny the leftist organization's insolent and delusional claim."