Supreme Court delays some outpost evacuations
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Supreme Court delays some outpost evacuations

As a result of residents’ petitions, destruction of Ramat Gilad postponed to July 3

A view of the Givat Assaf outpost, located near the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank (photo credit: Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)
A view of the Givat Assaf outpost, located near the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank (photo credit: Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)

The Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon ruled that the imminent evacuation and destruction of several buildings in Ramat Gilad, a West Bank outpost that was determined to have been built illegally on Palestinian land, would be delayed until July 3.

The ruling was the result of an appeal by residents and the state, which petitioned the court to delay the evacuation so that the residents could leave the structures voluntarily.

The ruling comes as the civil administration is slated to raze over two dozen buildings in illegal outposts over the next few days, carrying out a court order from November 2013 to evacuate specific properties built on private Palestinian land.

On Thursday, some residents of Givat Assaf, an outpost neat Beit El that was set to be demolished Thursday, reached a partial agreement with the Defense Ministry and began to voluntarily evacuate their homes before noon.

According to the Civil Administration, the residents will have until Sunday to complete the evacuation.

However, the immediate fate of seven additional buildings in a different section of the settlement slated for demolition still hangs in the balance, as residents and the Civil Administration continue to petition the court to delay the demolitions.

On Thursday afternoon , the court ruled that the evacuation of one of the lots at Givat Assaf would be delayed by 90 days.

On Wednesday afternoon, security forces completed the demolition of 10 illegal structures in the West Bank outpost of Ma’ale Rehavam, south of Jerusalem, after the High Court rejected a claim by settlers that the land was purchased legally.

Some 20 police vehicles entered the outpost late Wednesday morning after driving through a road strewn with burning tires and stone barricades, Israel Radio reported.

Settlers clash with Israeli security forces the demolition and evacuation of 10 structures in the Ma'ale Rehavam outpost in the West Bank, on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash 90)
Settlers clash with Israeli security forces the demolition and evacuation of 10 structures in the Ma’ale Rehavam outpost in the West Bank, on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash 90)

They were met with rock-throwing and obscenities by masked men, according to Army Radio. At least four people were held for trying to prevent Border Police troops from reaching the site.

The demolition of the structures, which were built on private Palestinian land near larger settlements, came six months after the High Court of Justice ruled that they were illegal.

Despite the demolitions Wednesday, other buildings in Ma’ale Rehavam, which the court found had been built legally, are expected to receive government permits allowing them to remain standing — in effect giving a seal of approval to the outpost as a whole.

Security forces were also ordered to demolish seven more buildings in the settlement of Ramat Gilad, near Karnei Shomron, but that action was presumably put on hold due to Thursday’s court ruling delaying the measure.

The ruling to tear down the structures at the three outposts came a decade after they were built, and six years after Peace Now filed a petition calling on the government to evacuate six West Bank outposts: Givat Asaf, Mitzpeh Yitzhar, Ramat Gilad, Ma’ale Rehavam, Givat Hara’a, and Mitzpeh Lachish.

When they were built, all six outposts became subject to a “delineation order,” an injunction stipulating that the state can evacuate them at any given moment. In 2007, Peace Now pushed for the state to act on the injunction, and in early 2011 the state finally agreed to evacuate all structures built on privately owned land.

Givat Hara’a and Mitzpe Lachish are to receive permits as well.

Last month, a move by security forces to tear down illegal structures in Mitzpeh Yitzhar, adjacent to the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, was met with a violent riot in which local settlers, angered over the nighttime demolition, sacked an army position.

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