West Bank Road Being Rebuilt, Despite Israeli Promise to High Court

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The access road to the Amona outpost in the West Bank, which runs exclusively over private Palestinian property and was torn up in July as part of a promise made by Attorney Yehuda Weinstein to the High Court of Justice, is currently being rebuilt.

During a visit to the area a month ago, members of the human rights group Yesh Din saw that a new road had been improved and expanded to infringe on private Palestinian land and that the old road had been reopened to traffic. The roadwork is being carried out by the Binyamin Regional Council.

Yesh Din turned to the High Court division of the State Attorney’s Office, and on Monday, Deputy Attorney General Dena Zilber issued a written response, saying, “The coordinator of the supervision department visited the site and noticed that work was carried out on the old access road to the outpost after its removal in such a way as to enable vehicular traffic. In addition, it was agreed supervisory measures will be taken that were not taken in the past and that urgent steps will be taken to stop the work on the public thoroughfare and exercise the demolition order applicable to this area.”

In the margin of the letter Zilber wrote, “It goes without saying repeated building violations, in particular when they violate promises to the High Court, are unacceptable and clearly serious.

Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Roeh did not respond to Haaretz's request for comment.

Since 2008, the High Court has been deliberating a petition submitted by attorneys Michael Sfard and Shlomi Zachary on behalf of the head of Silwad, the Palestinian village adjacent to Amona, together with landowners and human rights organization Yesh Din. The Palestinians are demanding the removal of buildings erected at Amona, which they say was built on their property without permits.

The case underwent various twists and turns, until last summer, when the land on which the outpost was built was divided into three categories. The first category consists of lots purchased by members of Amona in 2012; the dissolution of this partnership is part of a separate proceeding in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, and the removal of structures from this land is being postponed until a judgment is issued by the lower court.

The second category, plots that are fully owned by Palestinians who did not petition the High Court, applies to the majority of the area of the outpost. The High Court is still deliberating the demolition of the buildings on these lands.

The third category is the property owned by the landowners among the petitioners, on which a single residential building in Amona and the access road were built. The state promised to ensure to the removal of the road and the house, a commitment that was formalized in a High Court ruling.

In July 2013, the house was evacuated and both it and the road were destroyed voluntarily, after a new road was built, without a permit, along the route of a public thoroughfare built under Jordanian rule.

Amona, where 30 Jewish homes were built illegally on private Palestinian land without any permits.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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