Eran Wolkowski |
Photo by Eran Wolkowski |
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced over the weekend that he intends to block the demolition of two homes in the illegal outpost of Givat Hayovel in the settlement of Eli. Netanyahu decided to intervene in the matter, which has yet to be ruled on by the courts, because the homes are inhabited by the Klein and Peretz families whose sons were killed in the Second Lebanon War and in a firefight in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to come up with a solution that would prevent the order from being carried out.

As early as 2005, in response to a petition by Peace Now, the High Court of Justice issued a conditional injunction ordering the state to explain why it was not implementing orders to demolish 18 homes in the outposts of Givat Hayovel and Hersha. The State Prosecutor's Office confirmed that the two homes in Givat Hayovel, including the Peretz home, are built on privately owned Palestinian land. The other homes, including the Klein home, were built on "state lands," but without any government authorization and without required permits from the planning authorities.

In 2008, the state promised to carry out the demolition orders "based on priorities." The tragedy of the Peretz family, whose son Eliraz was killed on the border of the Gaza Strip, and whose brother died in Lebanon, gave rise to strong political pressures to prevent the orders from being carried out. But none of the politicians bothered asking why the army permits soldiers in uniform (and other civil servants ) to reside, for years, in illegal outposts, and build their homes on stolen property.

Major Ro'i Klein and Major Eliraz Peretz were courageous officers and admired commanders. The authorities should do everything possible to assist their widows and orphans, but this assistance must end where it violates the property rights of others, including Palestinians. These violations must be handled by the law enforcement authorities.

Yet, elected officials in this country have no qualms about undermining the law enforcement authorities. Instead of seeking ways to avoid enforcing the demolition orders, the attorney general would be well-advised to deliver to Netanyahu a copy of a warning notice he sent to Nir Barkat, after the Jerusalem mayor intervened in the implementation of an order to evacuate and seal Beit Yonatan in Silwan. He needs to make clear to the prime minister the importance of the separation of powers in a democracy.