High Court: Israel Must Raze Illegal Palestinian Homes

Ruling comes after group claimed state was not destroying homes built without permits in West Bank villages.

The State of Israel must enforce demolition orders issued for two illegal structures built by Palestinians in the West Bank, the High Court ruled on Wednesday. The court ordered the state to set a deadline within which to follow up on the demolition.

The ruling came as a response to a petition from an Israeli monitor group, demanding to know why the state does not homes built without permits in the Arab villages of al-Sawaya and Yatma.

Regavim, the petitioning group which works "to preserve the nation's lands," said that the Civil Administration had issued few demolition orders against the illegal structures but was not implementing the action.

Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer on Sunday said in response to the petition that perhaps the state prosecution had indeed discriminated between Arabs and Jews with regard to illegal construction on the West Bank, the latter's detriment.

"There isn't a single Jewish outpost with illegal construction against which demolition orders have not been issued," claimed Amir Fischer, representing Regavim.

Melcer, who prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court represented residents of the illegal outpost of Migron, asked government attorney Hila Gorani "whether there is a difference in the order of priorities."

Gorani replied that different considerations apply to construction in Israel and construction "in the Palestinian community."

Demolition orders are issued "on the basis of the Civil Administration's priorities and in line with instructions from the political leadership. When construction is carried out on someone else's land, the considerations are likely to be different."

The problem," Melcer shot back," is that you lack clear and orderly guidelines regarding which cases action is or is not taken on, in order to prove that no distinction is being made between the communities."