The Supreme Court, in its role as the High Court of Justice ordered the evacuation and demolishing of seventeen homes in the West Tapuah (Tapuah Ma’arav) outpost. The deadline for implementation of the ruling is June 2018. The ruling is part of an agreement between the State and the Court.
The Court ruled that the rest of the outpost was built on publicly owned land, and can remain where it is.
The petition was filed in 2015 by Yesh Din, a legal rights NGO, on behalf of residents of the adjacent village of Kfar Yasuf, who claim that the homes were built on land owned by the villagers. In addition, the petition claimed the homes were built without building permits.
According to Israel Radio, the court ordered the demolition of the unapproved buildings, but spokespeople for both Yesh Din and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked refuted that point.
“This ruling is a great mark of success for the settlement movement because the court didn’t order the community to be demolished,” a spokeswoman for Shaked told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “The court ruled that 17 caravans, homes to seven families, that are currently situated on land that has not been designated as state land will have to move, in a year-and-a-half.
“But the rest of the community has been legalized. The 17 caravans that are currently not located on state lands will move several meters and the rest of the community has been legalized. Building there will continue, and the community will be continue to flourish from here forward,” Shaked said.
Yesh Din agreed, albeit from the opposite side of the political spectrum.
“Of course, we feel it is a positive move to remove the buildings that are built on private land,” said Gilad Grossman , spokesman and Director of Media Department for Yesh Din. “We brought this case for two reasons: One, because the caravans were placed on private land, and two, because the residents of West Tapuah have a long history of violence against neighboring Palestinian villages.
“But we expect the state to remove all Israeli building on Palestinian land, and not just to move a few buildings and declare the rest of the settlement legal as it is on state land”, Grossman said.
The outpost’s residents were far from satisfied both with the ruling and with yesterday’s ratification of the Legalization Law, which they describe as “little more than a frustrating attempt to avoid making clear policy decisions about the future of Israeli settlement in the area”.
“The Netanyahu-Bennet government is a disgrace,” said one resident of Kfar Tapuah, the settlement of which West Tapuah is an outpost. “They have sat on their hands on the issue of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria for too long”. “Yesterday Amona, today Tapuach West”. “Jewish families returning to their ancestral homeland, and settling its heartland should not be evicted, and see their homes demolished by the State of Israel”.
“It is time for the Israeli public to rethink our blind support for these two parties who have proven to be a huge disappointment. We must make Israel great again,” Ha’Ivri told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
In a rare move, the court backed up the agreement with a ruling requiring the state to adhere to the terms of the agreement because of previous instances where the state has not shown good faith in keeping its commitments to the Court on settlement-related issues.
By: Andrew Friedman