The High Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered the State to implement the demolition orders issued for Palestinian structures that had been built illegally near the villages of as-Sawiya and Yatma, located near the Jewish settlement of Rehalim in the northern West Bank.
The court further ruled that the State must realize its own warrants and set a clear timetable and a supervision framework regarding illegal construction, under its obligation to uphold the law. The State was ordered to update the court of its planned proceedings within 45 days.
Some three months ago the Regavim movement filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to order Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the IDF Central Command Chief Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni to explain why they have not been taking the necessary measures to execute demolition orders in the Palestinian villages.
In response the State said the petition should be rejected, since the authorities in the region implement general enforcement in the Palestinian sector according to their own discretion and the relevant priorities.
The State's response further stated that since 1996, enforcement proceedings were opened in the case of 50 structures in the village of as-Sawiyeh, out of which three demolition orders were approved.
During a Supreme Court hearing held a few days ago on the Regavim petition, Justice Edna Arbel said it is outrageous that for 50 illegal structures, only three demolition orders were issued in the past 14 years. 'I think this is undoubtedly over the top," the judge said.
Justice Hanan Meltzer added, "The problem is that there are no clear and orderly guidelines on when action should be taken and when it shouldn't in order to prove that there is no distinction between populations, and then they get that feeling that actions is taken only against the Jewish residents. If this is illegal construction, what difference does it make?