Katif Settlers Petition High Court Against Nitzanim Ultimatum'

Yuval Yoaz
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Yuval Yoaz

Gush Katif settlers yesterday petitioned the High Court of Justice for an urgent interim injunction to freeze the government's one-week deadline for joining the Nitzanim plan.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni announced Wednesday that the settlers had one week to join the plan, after which it would become invalid.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, which is representing the Gaza Strip settlers, urged the court to freeze Livni's "ultimatum" and "all the solution-vetting processes in the Nitzanim area" until the High Court rules on the petitions against the Evacuation-Compensation Law.

Forum head Itzhak Meron said in the petition, which was filed to the 11-judge panel dealing with the disengagement, that in addition to issues of principles, there are issues that could affect the disengagement's schedule. These matters include the settlers' right to a hearing, the timetable's logic, and the transferring of settlements.

Meron said Livni's ultimatum constitutes contempt of court, and "an attempt at underhanded opportunism" to establish facts before the court reaches a verdict.

Meron said that Livni's hasty act is extremely unreasonable and lacking in proportion, and "would foil implementing the verdict."

"The settlers have a right, as free human beings, to be given the most basic information about their options," the petition says.

"How can you force people to make a decision on their place of residence in a week? How can you compel people by an announcement made at a news conference? What will befall someone who did not read the newspaper?"

The settlers said the cabinet is being extremely unreasonable, because it has "harnessed the cart before the horses. Instead of making a detailed plan and then setting a timetable, it did the reverse - first the prime minister set a date for the uprooting, then it began planning what to do with the uprooted."

Livni's bureau refused to comment on yesterday's settler statements.

Supreme Court President Justice Aharon Barak instructed the state to respond to the settlers' petition by Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Legal Forum has begun collecting the signatures of Gush Katif settlers on a petition objecting to the terms proposed by the cabinet for moving to Nitzanim.

The petition is based on the complete rejection of the following parts of the government's proposal - the uprooting and the government's conditions to harm the settlers' battle, the "double uprooting" and "refugee camps," and the breaking up of the settlers' community by placing them in different places.

The settlers are especially enraged by the government's failure to present the Nitzanim plan on paper in an orderly way. As a result, there is no certainty regarding the plan's details and the commitments the settlers will be required to make.

The settlers said yesterday they already had collected 500 signatures, and expect to get most of the settlers' signatures by the weekend.

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