High Court: Squatters in Heftsiba homes in West Bank can stay
Ruling comes despite previous court injunction barring settlement of Modi'in Ilit neighborhood.
The High Court of Justice ruled on Monday that clients of the collapsing construction company Heftsiba, who began squatting last month in houses they purchased in the disputed West Bank neighborhood of Matityahu East, will not be evacuated from their homes at this time.
The ruling comes less than two weeks after the High Court ruled that the would-be tenants of the Modi'in Ilit neighborhood would not be allowed to enter their houses until the court's final ruling on the settlement of the area.
The High Court is still deliberating petitions filed some 18 months ago by activist group Peace Now and the Bil'in council, which seek to bar Jews from settling the area. The court issued an injunction following the submission of these petitions, prohibiting the area from being populated.
The court clarified that while the squatters would not be removed, the injunction would still be upheld.
In her ruling, Justice Ayala Procaccia wrote that "at this stage, until the situation regarding Heftsiba becomes clear and the chances of the tenants receiving their apartments becomes known, the current situation will remain unchanged. The tenants who squatted in the Hefsiba apartments will not be removed,".
The justice added that as progress is made in the Heftsiba case, Peace Now and Bil'in residents will be able to petition the court once more.
The justices clarified that amnesty against evacuation will only be given to tenants who entered their homes until August 6th - the date on which the Jerusalem District Court ruled that squatters who entered their apartments until that date would not be evacuated while those who entered after that date would.
The squatters told the court of their economic hardships deriving from the uncertainty of their situation and how they have become "innocent victims of a dispute between Peace Now, the Bil'in council, construction companies and the government."
Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer said in response that "the High Court has created an absurd situation in which the court instructs authorities not to uphold an order that they themselves issued. We hope that the ruling will be changed soon and that the Matityahu East project will be canceled."