Israel's Top Court Denies Palestinians' Petition Against Deal on Illegal Outpost

High Court rules ownership of the West Bank land has yet to be thoroughly examined, but justice criticizes authorities for allowing 'trespassing on a mass scale'

Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit
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A man prays in Evyatar during the departure of its residents, last month.
A man prays in Evyatar during the departure of its residents, last month.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit

The High Court of Justice has unanimously denied a petition against the government's agreement with West Bank settlers on the illegal outpost of Evyatar.

In a ruling handed down on Sunday, the court denied the petition by 12 Palestinians who stated that the outpost was built on their land, making the agreement “patently illegal.”

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The court said it was denying the petition because it had been submitted too soon, before the ownership issue of the land had been thoroughly examined. However, Justice Isaac Amit wrote: “It would behoove the state to examine how illegal trespassing on a mass scale was made possible.” The panel also included Justices David Mintz and Yael Wilner.

Under the deal between the government and the settlers, the outpost’s structures are to remain intact, and the settlers may return if the land is deemed state-owned.

Justice Amit added that “the establishment of the illegal outpost went together with an undermining of security stability in the area in a period of complex security in the country, during Operation Guardian of the Walls, which obviously required the allocation of many security resources.”

Over the past three months, six Palestinians have been killed during protests over the establishment of the outpost.

The illegal outpost of Evyatar was first established in May on land belonging to three Palestinian villages – Beita, Qabalan and Yatma – after the death of Yehuda Guetta in a shooting attack.

The outpost is named after Evyatar Borovsky, who was killed in a knife attack in 2013. In recent years, a number of attempts have been made to establish an outpost on the land, but the residents were quickly removed. This time, although the outpost was established illegally, soldiers were filmed assisting in the construction.