Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood.
Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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At the same time that the prime minister and his cabinet protest against what they call "the delegitimization of the State of Israel" - and not only of the occupation - the government is constantly taking actions that underline the illegitimacy of its policies in the occupied territories. The Netanyahu government rallies to the side of developers who built and sold homes on land that belongs to others, despite demolition orders, a peremptory ruling by the High Court of Justice and the prime minister's own promise to carry it out by the end of this month.

On Friday, the State Attorney's Office notified the High Court that the government was retracting its promise to carry out the eviction order against the Ulpana neighborhood of the Beit El settlement in the West Bank. Unlike the case of the Migron outpost, in which the state requested an extension of three and a half years so that the community could be moved to an adjacent hill, this time the government is requesting a stay in order to review the implementation of the policy of demolishing buildings constructed on private land in the West Bank, including those built without permits in Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood. In its request to the court, the state posited "foreign relations, public and operational considerations" against the rule of law and the right to private property.

It is hard to imagine a foreign-relations consideration that supports giving official authorization to robbing the property of a person living under Israeli occupation. It must be hoped that elected officials are not implying that a majority of the Israeli public wants a government that violates orders and rulings of the Supreme Court. The pretext of "operational considerations" gives rise to the proliferation of unauthorized outposts such as Ulpana under the noses of Civil Administration inspectors and Israel Defense Forces officers.

It is a pity that the attorney general is helping to teach the public that some Israelis are above the law, and that it is permitted to spit in the face of the highest judicial instance in the land on their behalf. One might have expected Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to avoid putting his signature to a document that marks another disturbance to the system of checks and balances in Israeli democracy. Nothing is left but to hope that the Supreme Court will not relinquish its - our - honor. It must find personally responsible, and punish harshly, everyone who lends a hand to turning Ulpana into a memorial for the rule of law and justice in Israel.

Read this article in Hebrew.