Israel's High Court Temporarily Bars Removal of Trailers From Illegal West Bank Outpost

Palestinians seeking their removal from Sde Boaz, whose land they say they own

Trailers near Sde Boaz, West Bank, July 2017
Trailers near Sde Boaz, West Bank, July 2017 Emil Salman

The High Court of Justice issued a temporary order Wednesday barring the state from removing or confiscating four trailers that were illegally placed near the unauthorized outpost of Sde Boaz.

In announcing the ruling, in response to a petition filed by residents of the Gush Etzion outpost, Justice Uri Shoham said the order would remain in place until the court issues a further ruling on the matter. The petition was filed after the residents learned that the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank intended to confiscate the trailers. A law enforcement source confirmed that the Civil Administration had planned to remove the trailers Wednesday.

Although the immediate threat of the removal of the trailers has been lifted, last month the court ordered that they not be used as dwellings and that no further work be carried out hooking them up to utilities in light of a petition by Palestinians who claim they own the land on which the trailers have been placed. But inspectors from the Civil Administration who visited the site were reportedly told that people had already taken up residence in the trailers and that the trailers had already been hooked up to utilities.

The trailers are several hundred meters away from the Sde Boaz outpost itself, adjacent to the settlement of Neveh Daniel. They were placed there in July at a location that has not been designated as state land and which is currently deemed land whose ownership is being examined.

The trailers were put there without a permit and in violation of the law. The law would have allowed authorities, without obtaining a court order, to confiscate them within 60 days of their being placed at the site. Following the temporary order halting any immediate move to remove the trailers, the process of getting them off the site is now expected to be more complicated, even if the current order is lifted.

The Palestinians claiming ownership of the site were joined in their petition by the Palestinian municipality of Al-Khader, a town in the vicinity, in seeking to bar anyone from moving into the trailers. In 2014, four trailers were placed in the area on land that was privately owned by Palestinians. In that case, the Defense Ministry secured the agreement of the Amana construction organization, which at times has built structures without a permit, to relocate the trailers to Sde Boaz itself.