Israeli settlement structures razed despite residents’ emergency High Court appeal

Residents of Yitzhar filed an emergency petition to the Supreme Court to stop demolition of structures near the town, as hundreds of security forces gathered to raze buildings in outposts. 

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Hundreds of IDF soldiers and Border Police gathered early Wednesday morning to raze six structures near the town of Yitzhar in Judea and Samaria. The area has been the site of previous clashes between residents and security forces.

Residents of Yitzhar filed an emergency petition to the Supreme Court to stop the demolition of structures in the nearby outposts of Kumi Uri, Kippa Sruga, and Tukuma. The petition raised two points questioning the legality of the Civil Administration’s actions.

“First, this act contradicts an official announcement by the Civil Administration that during the coronavirus crisis, no houses would be demolished,” wrote Advocate Hananel Dorfman. “This should certainly apply to the family home of a woman who is nine months pregnant and about to give birth.”

“Secondly, regarding the Zarog and Gozlan families, these are homes owned by an American citizen, and therefore the Civil Administration has no authority to act in Area B regarding anyone who is not an Israeli citizen,” the petition continued.

“You intend to demolish houses in complete contradiction to your statement that no houses will be demolished during the coronavirus pandemic, and this constitutes blatant discrimination in the treatment of Jews and Arabs,” Dorfman wrote.

The petition did not stop the Civil Administration from proceeding with the demolition.

Shortly before the demolition began, a security official said in a statement, “We expect residents to act responsibly and without violence. Any attempt to harm law enforcement officials will be met with a determined and uncompromising response. The goal is enforcement and no arrests, but we will not hesitate to arrest anyone who acts violently or incites against the forces.”

During the demolition one resident of Kumi Uri, Neria Zarog, was arrested. He was recently released from administrative detention after an arrest in January for refusing to evacuate his home for demolition.

Zarog’s home in Kumi Uri was destroyed, along with one other home in the outpost.

The additional four structures that were demolished were in the outposts of Kippa Sruga and Tukuma. The Civil Administration said in a statement, “The enforcement activities were carried out in accordance with the authorities.”

The Town Secretary of Yitzhar said to local media, “Tens of thousands of illegal Arab buildings have been built in Judea and Samaria in recent years, and the Israeli government has chosen to focus on demolishing the homes of Jewish families in Yitzhar.”

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