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Chief Justice Dorit Beinish
Photo: AFP
Court: State didn’t consider full impact of freeze
Supreme Court hears Legal Forum for the Land of Israel petition against West Bank settlement freeze, doubts government 'considered all possible variants' of decision

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard a petition filed by the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel against the government's decision to freeze settlement construction.

 

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish wondered during the hearing "if those issuing the warrants considered all possible variants," and added the State ought to form a body which would hear immediate grievances.

 

The petition claimed that the orders to halt construction were politically motivated and exceeded the GOC Central Command's authority.

 

Justices Ayala Procaccia said in response that "the government sets diplomatic goals and the means to achieve them and if it calls for orders to halt construction – the government has proper jurisdiction. The GOC is the long arm of the government. What's wrong with that?"

 

However, she added that one could question the matter of proportionality of the orders.

 

The petitioners also claimed they were not given enough time to prepare for the de facto freeze.

 

The court criticized the facts that the State failed to put a compensatory system in place.

 

Avi Naim, head of the Beit Aryeh regional council and one of the petitioners, told the court that "While I accept the State's authority the way the warrants were issued constitutes immediate harm… This is devastating to thousands of law abiding citizens and it's causing mental anguish on top of financial damage."

 

Shaul Goldstein, Head of Gush Etzion Regional Council, told the court the settlers estimate the damage caused by the freeze at $200 million.

 

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