Netanyahu backs residents after court orders settlement homes demolished

Mitzpe Kramim residents slam Supreme Court for ordering Jews out while protecting home of terrorist.

By World Israel News Staff

Residents from the town of Mitzpe Kramim in Samaria lashed out Friday at the Supreme Court following a ruling that most of the settlement had to be evacuated and dismantled.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the court’s decision “mistaken” after judges ruled much of the town was built on Palestinian-owned land and gave 36 months to demolish four permanent homes, 30 mobile homes and several community buildings in the town located 25 kilometers (15 miles) northeast of Jerusalem.

“I regret the mistaken High Court of Justice decision … We will exhaust all processes in order to leave the residents in their place and we are convinced that we will succeed,” Netanyahu said.

Mitzpe Kramim spokesman Doron Leshem acknowledged it was possible some homes may have infringed on private Arab land, but said the judges could not justify demolishing most of the homes after the Supreme Court overruled the order to demolish the home of an Arab terrorist.

“You don’t fix a wrong with another wrong. Sometimes mistakes occur, and people settle on private land,” Leshem told Kan Radio. “It is outrageous that the Supreme Court defends the home of a terrorist who murdered an IDF soldier, but then throws 45 families out of their homes.”

“We won’t give up, we don’t intend to evacuate,” Leshem said.

In their ruling, the judges also ordered the state to provide alternative housing to the town’s residents before the demolition is carried out.

Mitzpe Kramim was founded in 1999 beside the existing town of Kohav HaShahar, but Arabs from the village of Deir Jarir, some six kilometers (3.6 miles) to the west, only petitioned the court 12 years later, claiming the land was theirs.

However, in 2018 a Jerusalem court judge ruled that due to Mitzpe Kramim residents’ good faith in establishing their community and the state’s role helping them to do so, the government cannot force residents to leave their homes.

Two of the three Supreme Court judges on the case ruled that the state and private groups involved in establishing Mitzpe Kramim should have been aware that the location of the town was problematic. In their ruling they said the government official responsible for checking the land where it was built “closed his eyes to avoid seeing the many warning signs brought to his attention over the years, including the fact that the outpost was established on private Palestinian land.”

Local resident Shai Maimon slammed the decision.

“They’re going to destroy my home. A home built by the state. A home which was evacuated from another location, and the state decided where to relocate it,” Maimon told Arutz 7, saying he was a law-abiding tax-payer serving in the IDF.

“This is a home with seven people living in it. A home which celebrates Independence Day and mourns on Memorial Day. A house of Jewish tradition and Zionism. But the home of a terrorist who murders soldiers won’t [be demolished]. Why?” Maimon said.

On August 10, the court accepted a petition to block the destruction  of the house owned by Palestinian terrorist Nazmi Abu-Bakr from Hebron, who murdered IDF soldier Amit Ben Yigal in May when he dropped a cement block on his head from the roof of the building.

As soon as the murder charge was filed against Abu Bakr, the IDF announced its intention to demolish the house from which the block was thrown, as well as the apartment where the terrorist lives in the building with his family.