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Late last week, another mark of disgrace was stamped on the foreheads of Israel's decision-makers and law enforcement authorities. The response that the state submitted to a High Court of Justice petition filed by Palestinian farmers demanding the return of their land, on which the settlement of Amona was built, is still more evidence of an incredibly serious phenomenon - the government and prosecution's collaboration with thieves and lawbreakers.

Rather than protecting these landowners, whose land the state has already admitted to the High Court was taken by force, the state attorneys are continuing their foot-dragging. This time, they asked the High Court to delay the razing of the structures for no less than 14 months.

At the same time, ministers and MKs from the right, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are working to delay the evacuation of Givat Assaf, which was also built on private Palestinian land - despite the fact that the state undertook before the High Court to evacuate the outpost by the end of the year.

All this was preceded by Netanyahu's initiative to appoint a panel of jurists to suggest ways to legalize outposts built on private Palestinian land. The government is also expected to debate a bill designed to restrict the activities of organizations such as Peace Now and Yesh Din, which help the Palestinians reclaim their stolen property. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the measure Sunday.

The government said recently that it welcomed the Middle East Quartet's draft proposal from September, which is based on, inter alia, the Road Map of 2003. Netanyahu was a senior member of the government that adopted the Road Map, which includes a commitment to "immediately dismantle" outposts that were erected after March 2001.

At worst, the government's behavior with regard to the outposts, particularly those erected on privately owned land, demonstrates that a small group of criminals can terrorize Israel's elected public officials. Even worse, we see that the worldview and/or the personal interests of people in the political leadership can overcome the rule of law, natural justice and the national interests of the State of Israel.

Either way, when the political echelons give refuge to lawbreakers and ridicule High Court rulings, it is incumbent on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to put a stop to it.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: המדינה ממשיכה לאחז עיניים