Maoz Esther
Maoz EstherCourtesy

As part of an appeal filed by residents of the Palestinian Authority Arab town of Kafr Malik, the State has committed to the Supreme Court that it will demolish houses in the homestead of Maoz Esther in the Binyamin Region within three weeks, subject to operational considerations.

The appeal was filed in 2019, and called for the demolition of an orchard with dozens of olive trees as well. Two years later, in 2021, the head of the Civil Administration at the time signed an order declaring the olive trees a problematic use of the land, but the orchard was not destroyed.

Approximately three years ago, two houses were added to the homestead, and two families with children are currently living there. For that reason, half a year ago, the Supreme Court declared that the State must explain why the homestead had not yet been destroyed.

In response, the State declared that it would enforce the laws in the area within 180 days, subject to operational considerations. Despite the fact that the original appeal was filed only against the orchard, security officials announced to the residents of the homestead that the security forces intended to destroy the houses as well.

The homestead currently houses 12 families, including that of Ahuvyah Sandak, a teenager who died when a police car rammed the vehicle he was in during a pursuit, causing it to roll. His family moved to the community shortly after his death.

The residents of the homestead stated: “The only person who can decide whether to carry out the demolition during a war is Minister Bezalel Smotrich. The demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, despite having been subject to a final court ruling, has been delayed by the state for years and to this day. It makes no sense that while the Palestinian Authority continues to take over this region without opposition, and the roads of Judea and Samaria have become conduits for terrorism, hundreds of officers should be directed to demolish the houses of settler families.”

“The court ruling in this case was not even final, but rather a statement by the government to the Supreme Court that proactively declared that the demolition would be carried out according to operational considerations. Smotrich must now make his decision and show the public if the demolition of the houses of Jewish families during a war has greater weight in operational considerations than security operations and the demolition of the Arab invasion.”

The residents dismissed the idea that the land was private Palestinian land: “This is a fictional and falsified land registry carried out by the King of Jordan to establish Arab ownership of Judea and Samaria. The nation of Israel has full rights to its land and the government of Israel should not give any consideration to fictional definitions invented by hostile powers more than 50 years ago.”

“We will fight as hard as we can and physically prevent the criminal attempt to demolish the houses of pioneer families that are settling this hilltop, through great personal sacrifice, over many years. We called for the public to prepare, from this day forward, to be ready to come here and physically stop the demolition on the day of reckoning.”