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Rawabi
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Right-wing NGO rallies court to stop road-paving on private Palestinian land
Regavim, which promotes Jewish construction in the West Bank, petitions High Court to halt all work on a new access road to a Palestinian city in bid to solicit a ruling that would set a legal precedent to prevent further evacuations of Jewish settlements: 'The court has taken a strict line with Jews building on privately-owned land. It can't now be nonchalant,' say group's lawyers.
The right-wing NGO Regavim has submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) demanding that it issue an injunction to halt work currently underway on a main access road leading to a Palestinian city, protesting its construction on privately-owned Palestinian land.

 

 

The Israeli organization’s declared mission statement is “to ensure responsible, legal, accountable and environmentally friendly use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation.”

 

Regavim claimed to have taken issue with the fact that the new route, leading to the city of Rawabi, was carried out illegally on lands that were expropriated for the purpose of the constructing the road.

 

Road under construction (Photo: Eliahu Avniel)
Road under construction (Photo: Eliahu Avniel)

 

By filing the petition, the organization, which frequently takes land battles to Israel’s highest judicial bodies, is hoping to extract from the courts a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for its promotion of construction of new settlements—and maintenance of old ones—in the West Bank.

 

If it is accepted, a precedent will have been set for similar settlements deemed illegal in the West Bank since the central justification behind the evacuation of Jewish settlements is that they are built upon privately-owned Palestinian land.

 

Seeking to hold the courts to standards it has set in the past, Regavim is ostensibly seeking to test whether or not law prevails over all other considerations, regardless of their practical benefits.

 

The outpost of Amona was the most recent to have been evacuated at the beginning of the year, which the HCJ ruled was established on privately-owned Palestinian land.

 

Rawabi (Photo: AFP)
Rawabi (Photo: AFP)

During talks leading up to its evacuation, the residents sought to prevent their forced removal by financially compensating the landowners or providing alternative land plots. Both suggestions however, were flatly rejected.

 

The petition’s authors are hoping the HCJ will provide an answer to the Palestinian landowners without obstructing the paving of an access road to the Palestinian city, thereby setting a legal precedent which could be applied to numerous outposts built upon privately-owned land.

 

The petition also demands the immediate halt to all work on the road until an agreement is reached with the land’s proprietors, once again in an effort to create and example on which to draw in future land disputes.

 

“The described situation in the petition is grave and outrageous. This is a case of ongoing, terrible conduct of turning a blind eye and giving tacit consent to commit construction offenses under the guise of priorities,” the petition reads.

 

Photo: Eliahu Avniel
Photo: Eliahu Avniel
 

 

Regavim also claimed that they contacted, on several occasions, the Civil Administration officials and the company in charge of the project in the Palestinian city but did not receive a proper response.

 

The organization’s attorneys who submitted the petition said: “The state declared in the past in the courts that the temporary access road to the city, and its planned route, is in fact an invasion of private land belonging to Palestinians, who obviously did not give their approval.

 

“In the last few years, the HCJ has taken a very strict line and ordered the demolition of buildings and roads built by Jews on private Palestinian land. That is why in this case, it is unacceptable that the HCJ is nonchalant about the rights of private landowners.”

 


פרסום ראשון: 08.21.17, 16:58
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