Supreme Court petition asks why Arabs can’t be allocated land in Jewish town of Efrat

The petition states that the problem is with Israel’s land practice, which it claims is discriminatory. 

By World Israel News Staff

The far-left Peace Now group has petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to halt construction of a new neighborhood in the town of Efrat, south of Jerusalem, on the basis that it is discriminatory towards Palestinian residents of the area.

The neighborhood, Givat Ei’tam, is located on state lands in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which is under Israeli military and civil control.

According to the petition, filed on behalf of 13 Palestinian residents of Bethlehem, the heart of the matter lies in Israel’s a discriminatory land practice, in which state land is almost always given to Jewish residents of Area C, and not Palestinians – despite their connection to the land.

But according to Avraham Binyamin from the Regavim NGO that deals with land issues, the petition is “delusional” because it “ignores the reality on the ground.”

Binyamin claimed that there is “no justification” to allocate “another centimeter of Area C which is already subject to a land grab by the Palestinian Authority.”

More than 70% of Areas A and B, which make up 40% of Judea and Samaria and are completely under Palestinian control and is entirely devoid of Israeli construction, Binyamin notes.

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“Therefore the claim of discrimination is completely absurd,” he concluded.

Binyamin called on the Supreme Court to “deny the leftist organization’s insolent and delusional claim,” and said it would be hypocritical not to since it shot down Regavim’s own petition about a different law discriminating against Jewish land purchases in the area, on the basis that the court “doesn’t get involved in political matters.”

The court’s president Esther Hayut has ordered that the state respond to the petition and answer whether it would consider allocating the land to the 13 Palestinian residents of Bethlehem. In the interim, the group has demanded that all construction is frozen.

According to attorney and former deputy mayor of Efrat Michael Sperber, the Palestinian Authority has for years been part of a plan to lay claim to large swaths of Israeli state land through illegal building as part of the Fayyad Plan, developed by former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in 2009.