Illegal outposts: Israel SC gives 90 days to govt

Israeli SC on Wednesday asked govt to explain within 90 days why it has not followed through with evacuating every illegal outpost built on Palestinian land in West Bank.

Last Updated: May 05, 2010, 19:14 PM IST

Jerusalem: In a rebuke to the government,
Israeli Supreme Court today asked the State to explain within
90 days why it has not followed through with evacuating every
illegal outpost built on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The three-judge panel asked the state "to explain
within 90 days why the state will not enforce the demolition
orders issued for the compound in question."

The court made its ruling particularly with regard to
the Amona outpost, where settlers began to build in 1995 and
have continued to do so despite an official evacuation effort
launched in 2006, Ha`aretz Online reported.

Extremist Jewish settlers put their first caravans in
Amona in 1995 and have since ignored demolition orders for
these structures received in 1997, 2003 and 2004.

Security forces in 1996 razed nine structures that
had been built there, facing strong opposition from the
settler movement.

A group of eight Palestinians from neighbouring
villages petitioned the SC through a human rights
organisation Yesh Din in 2008 to evacuate the illegal outpost
of Amona.

Petitioners have also asked for the removal of fences
that prevent access to their lands. The Israeli Supreme court
accepted their petition on the grounds that any construction
on private land was subject to demolition.

The debate today was held at the request of the
Palestinians demanding that the court enforce the decision as
the state has apparently put demolition of the structures last
on its agenda, turning its resources toward dealing with
disruptions to the construction freeze throughout the area.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a
temporary freeze on new constructions in November in efforts
to break the deadlock in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Defence Attorney Michael Sfard reportedly told the
court during the hearing today that settlers began to build in
April again in Amona, without any interference from the state
despite the inherent illegality or Netanyahu`s declaration of
a 10-month construction freeze.

"It`s obvious that the state and the settlers will
do everything they can to stop this, but it is our duty to
help those landowners whose property has been stolen to
achieve justice," said Sfard.

The Defence Attorney noted that during the four
years since the demolition of nine structures at the outpost
(which took place only after a previous petition by Yesh Din),
Amona settlers have built new buildings to replace them.

In the statement to the Supreme Court last month,
the State Prosecutor`s Office confirmed that Amona is an
illegal outpost.

PTI