High Court Challenges State on Settlement Construction

State Prosecutor closed the case pertaining to Ulpana Hill outpost near the Beit El settlement some three months ago due to 'lack of public interest.'

Emil Salman

The High Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered the state to explain why it failed to indict the real estate developer who had built homes on an unauthorized West Bank outpost located on Palestinian land.

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan closed the case pertaining to the Ulpana Hill outpost near the Beit El settlement some three months ago due to what he called “lack of public interest.”

Ulpana Hill was built on private Palestinian land in 2008. Following a petition to the High Court of Justice by the land’s owners and the Yesh Din human rights group, a few of the structures were removed in the summer of 2012.

Police also questioned the outpost’s land developer, Yoel Zur, following a complaint filed against him for trespassing. Zur admitted to the police that he knew one of the plots was owned by Palestinians. Despite this, the police closed the case.

The land’s owners and Yesh Din’s attorneys, Michael Sfard and Shlomi Zecharya, appealed to the State Prosecutor’s Office against the closure. Three years later, after the attorneys petitioned the High Court, NItzan said he was closing the case.

The attorneys petitioned the court against Shai’s decision in February. The court criticized the state for taking so long to resolve the appeal and issued an order nisi to the state to explain why Zur should not be indicted.