Court: Why wasn't outpost synagogue demolished?
Despite High Court's interim order forbidding any and all construction in illegal West Bank outpost Elmatan, State announces it will not demolish structure used as synagogue, but will seal it off instead. State representative in hearing: Petitioners will not dictate priorities
Selective implementation of court orders? After a petition was submitted to the High Court regarding the demolition of a synagogue in the illegal West Bank outpost of Elmatan next to Maale Shomron, the State notified the court that it is aware that construction work has been done on the structure despite the interim court order forbidding any and all building in the outpost.
In light of this, the State told the court it would seal off and fence the building in the coming days, and thus, the State asked the court not to uphold the petition.
In the State's notification submitted on Sunday, it was also written that the head of the Civil Administration made a written request to the Shai District Police chief that an investigation of the violation be launched. High Court justices discussed the petition on Monday and ordered the State to update the court within two months regarding enforcement measures undertaken.
The organization Yesh Din submitted the petition.
Attorney Michael Sfarad and Attorney Shlomi Zecharia claimed during the hearing that the facts could not be disputed – that the synagogue was built in a nature reserve and that a puzzling situation has arisen in which the State is claiming it will seal and fence the building and asking that the case be dismissed. The lawyer pair demanded that the State show the court that it is enforcing court orders.
They also wondered why such a structure is not being demolished, instead of sealed and fenced.
The petitioners expressed their concern that the synagogue will likely become an additional point of friction between the settlers and the Palestinians in the area, further justifying demolition of the structure.
State representative, Attorney Uri Keidar, said that though the building is illegal, the petitioners are looking to dictate the State's priorities.
"The petitioners in essence seek to place the entire law enforcement system aside and tell the State that this building must be sealed off now, and that this must be at the top of the list," claimed Keidar.
Addressing the claim that the building should be demolished, Keidar said that because the synagogue is active, it must be sealed and fenced, not demolished.