Settler Council Lied to High Court to Prevent West Bank Outpost Evacuation

The Gush Etzion Regional Council provided false affidavit claiming families were dwelling in four structures built without permits in the illegal Sde Boaz outpost; evacuating a family in place is legally much more complicated than preventing one from being inhabited.

The Gush Eztion Regional Council provided Israel's High Court with a fraudulent affidavit which states that illegally-built structures were inhabited and thus interim injunctions which would implement their destruction cannot be filed.

The appeal regards four structures built without permits at the Sde Boaz outpost, next to the Neve Daniel settlement. A group of Palestinian residents from the Al-Hadr village petitioned the High Court in December, demanding the access road to the area be destroyed, since it encroaches on their private property. They have also requested the four structures be demolished and an interim injunction issued that bars any further construction.

In a response to the High court issued last week, the Gush Etzion Regional Council, represented by Attorney Akiva Silvetski, claimed these are state lands that have not yet been officially declared as such. They claim that the four structures have been populated by four families, and provided an affidavit to support the claim by Dov Barak, the council's land coordinator. Barak testified that he was on the land at the time and that the structures were indeed inhabited.

The question of whether the structures were inhabited is critical to the interim injunction against their construction, since evacuating a family that already lives in a structure is legally much more complicated than preventing one from being inhabited.

During a tour in the area by Dror Etkes, a settlement researcher who is assisting the appellants, after the council submitted the affidavit, it turned out the workers were still readying the uninhabited houses. On Sunday, workers were still operating in the area, with no families in sight.

Etkes filed a complaint with the police over submission of a fraudulent affidavit and provided the High Court with an update. For this reason, Supreme Court Justice Zvi Zilbertal issued a temporary injunction that bars anyone from inhabiting the structures in the outpost.

Attorney Jihat Nasser, who filed the appeal, told Haaretz that we "are familiar with their conduct. They take advantage of the time it takes for the judges to respond in order to determine facts on the ground. We photographed the insides of the structure and the electrical wiring that is not yet connected. I hope the police takes this crime seriously."

Haaretz requested comment from the Gush Etzion regional Council last Thursday but has not yet received any response.

Azmi Badeer / Yesh Din