Israel High Court of Justice rules gov’t policy should suffice on fate of illegal EU structures


High Court of Justice rules state should have wide discretion to decide whether demolition orders issued against illegally built European Union-financed structures east of Jerusalem should be executed or not.

By Yair Altman


Israeli authorities should not be forced to implement demolition orders that were issued for European Union-built structures east of Jerusalem, the High Court of Justice said on Monday.

Construction along Highway 1 has been contested by local Jewish communities – Photo: Courtesy of the Regavim organization

The Kfar Adumim community and the Regavim movement had asked the court to order the implementation of the demolition orders for more than a dozen structures in Kfar Adumim’s municipal boundaries, claiming that the state was shirking its duty to enforce the law.

The court rejected that request, saying that the Israeli government should have wide discretion when it comes to the demolition of illegal structures on state-owned land. The court essentially accepted the Defense Ministry Civil Administration’s view that it can determine the pace and timing for implementing such measures, despite the petitioners providing photographic evidence to support their claim.

Illegal Palestinian building in Area C – Photo: Regavim

The court noted that the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel had sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry in which it cited its diplomatic immunity. But the court said that “even without the claim of immunity, we are not of the opinion that the dialogue between the Israeli authorities and the European Union should be held inside a courtroom.”

Yaniv Aharoni, an activist in the Jerusalem Periphery Forum that monitors illegal construction in the area, attacked the decision and called on the defense minister “to take a first-hand look at the scene and instruct the Civil Administration’s inspectors to carry out their duties.”


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