Israeli High Court postpones Ofra evacuation by a month

Another nine Israeli homes in Samaria are to be demolished next month following a court order. 

Israel’s High Court of Justice postponed for only a month the planned evacuation of nine homes in Ofra, a community in the Binyamin region, which allegedly were built on Palestinian owned land.

The residents had asked for a three-month delay to enable them to complete preparations to leave, but the court granted them a stay of one month only.

In February 2016, the court ruled that nine houses in Ofra had been illegally built on privately owned Palestinian land and must be demolished in accordance with the request of the landowners. The deadline for evacuation was this Wednesday.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote that he felt the court “could have shown an extra measure of forbearance and mercy to the families facing eviction by granting the 90-day stay they had requested.”

“There is no need to force upon families with young children the trauma of having to move twice, once to temporary lodgings, and then again to their new homes,” he said.

Avi Roeh, chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council, which includes Ofra, told TPS that the ruling was disappointing.

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“It will not help the families facing eviction in any way, as it does not give them enough time to ensure their new homes will be habitable,” he stated. “The court could and should have given them the three months they requested, so they would have enough time to ensure the homes they are scheduled to relocate to are ready.”

He added that the court-mandated destruction of homes in Amona and Ofra “will not weaken our resolve to continue settling Judea and Samaria.”

Shira Perry, one of the residents of the nine homes slated for destruction, said that the decision was a mockery.

“The court dawdling and the postponement of its ruling, given at the last minute, has left us pushed in a corner, with no ability to settle and take care of the needs of our families, as we had requested. This month given to us consists of a disrespect of our personal needs,” she said.

“We are saddened by the fact that we are governed by a court that is disconnected from the basic human needs of the citizens of this country,” she declared.

The court ruling comes just days after massive police forces evacuated the nearby Israeli community of Amona for similar reasons.

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By: Yoni Ariel/TPS and World Israel News Staff