Top Israeli Judge Slams State for Building West Bank Road Against Court Order

Dorit Beinisch demands explanation after government ignores Supreme Court ruling to halt link between settlements across private Palestinian land.

Israel's Supreme Court president on Wednesday condemned the government's failure to enforce an order to stop building a West Bank road on private Palestinian land.

In talks with state lawyers, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch gave the government 45 days to explain why illegal construction was continuing and justify damage to private property.

Beinisch, who ordered the state to back up its explanation with aerial photographs, spoke out in response to a petition by the human rights organization Yesh Din.

The organization claims that the road, designed to cut travel time between the West Bank settlements of Givat Hayovel and Eli, prevents access by  Palestinian residents in the village Krayot to 1,500 dunam (370 acres) of their agricultural land.

The road is being built without legal permission on land owned by Palestinian citizens from a neighboring village, Yesh Din said.

In April 2009, the state issued an interim order to stop paving the road. But thefirst violation of the order was reported just  three months later.

In November, the state issued a general response to the petition, asserting that it had rendered the road unusable. During  Wednesday's talks, state lawyers claimed they had no idea who was responsible for violating the order.

But Beinisch and fellow Supreme Court Judge Esther Hayut ruled it was impossible  the state did know what "was happening under its nose".