Supreme Court President Scolds State for Foot-dragging Over Illegal Outposts

Hearing petition from Palestinians on Adei Ad outpost, Miriam Naor questions why unlawful structures have still not been removed.

The Adei Ad outpost in the West Bank
Nir Kafri

Supreme Court President Miriam Naor scathingly criticized the state Monday for its conduct with regard to illegal outposts, in particular the Adei Ad outpost, part of which is built on state land and the other part on Palestinian land.

In a High Court of Justice hearing on a petition filed by Palestinians demanding the evacuation of the outpost, Naor asked the state for its timetable for regularizing the structures at Adei Ad that are on state land. When it emerged that the state representatives weren’t supplying a timetable, Naor gave them a piece of her mind.

“Why do you bring us to this situation in the first place? Why do you think you can work according any schedule you want?” the court president asked. “Why do these petitions have to be dragged out? If you don’t set [a timetable] then we’ll set one. It cannot be that you are not committing to a time frame.”

When the state’s lawyers said that “planning arrangements aren’t something that can be demarcated [by a schedule],” Naor said, “If it’s impossible, then someone will do it. That would be a shame.”

Naor also lashed out at the prosecution for its foot-dragging, noting that even the structures on state land were illegally built, and for that reason alone the court could order them demolished. “Let’s take this starting point, and not the starting point that allows you to forever do on state land whatever you please,” Naor said. “Something’s backwards here – you take your time, don’t respond, don’t answer questions. As if there’s no judicial process here. You have no regard for the judicial process and I have a hard time with that. You’re coming here as if there’s no judicial process, as if everything depends on you.”

When the prosecution attorney asked for time “to step outside and try to come back with answers,” Naor replied, “We asked all the relevant questions beforehand. Don’t come to a hearing without answers.”

At the end of the hearing, Justices Naor, Esther Hayut, and Menachem Mazuz ordered the state to submit an expected timetable for regularization within seven days. The state was also ordered to attach the report of the inspector who was meant to visit the site to make sure that the structures built on private Palestinian land had either been demolished or moved to state land.