Israeli Government Seeks to Approve Largest Outpost in West Bank

The Supervisor of Governmental Property intends shortly to declare the land on which the outpost of Derech Ha’avot is situated state land. This intention was stated in a letter sent to Yesh Din’s legal advisor by the Legal Advisor to the Commander of the Judea and Samaria Area. As revealed two years ago, the Military Advocate General’s Corps itself commissioned a report on Derech Ha’avot, but is now delaying its publication since the document confirms that some 60 percent of the outpost is built on privately-owned Palestinian farmland.

Derech Ha’avot, the largest outpost in the West Bank, was established in 2001 during the second intifada. Over the years, the Palestinian landowners have repeatedly demanded the return of the land. The government has evaded these demands on various pretexts, and despite the fact that demolition orders have been issued against all the buildings in the outpost, it has refrained from executing the orders. In 2008 the landowners submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice, together with Peace Now, demanding the enforcement of the demolition orders and the eviction of the outpost. In a response to the petition given in 2010, the government claimed that due to the freezing of construction in the Territories it did not intend to enforce the demolition orders. The government added that before executing the orders it would seek to examine the status of the land on which the outpost was established. The High Court of Justice rejected the petition, but sharply criticized the government for failing to keep commitments it made before the court. After the completion of the survey, and following repeated delays, the state is now seeking to examine the possibility of approving the outpost, despite the fact that it was built illegally and in part on private Palestinian land.

Attorney Shlomo Zacharia from Yesh Din’s legal team responded to the letter: “Not only is the state reconciling itself to the breaking of the law, but it is also ultimately granting the usurped land to the lawbreakers. It is particularly outrageous that all the state authorities joined forces to accept the breaking of the law and are now attempting to provide an umbrella of state support, rather than combating organized ideological crime that violates human rights on a daily and hourly basis.”

(Source / 27.03.2013)

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