US threatens ‘harsh response’ if Israel demolishes illegal Arab structures


view videoIsraeli NGO condemns foreign criticism of court ordered demolition of illegally constructed Arab buildings, and calls on Defense Minister Liberman to ignore ‘idle threats’.

By Ido Ben Porat


Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) is expected to submit the ministry’s formal response in the Supreme Court to an appeal by the left-wing NGO ‘Rabbis for Human Rights’, which is demanding demolition orders for an illegal Arab outpost be shelved.

Illegal Arab settlement – Photo: Regavim

A number of buildings in the illegal outpost, which was constructed near the Jewish community of Sussiya near Hevron, are slated for destruction.

On Wednesday it was reported that senior US officials have been exerting heavy pressure on the Israeli government not to enforce the demolition orders. The report also indicated that American officials had threatened that should the demolitions be carried out, the US response would be extremely severe.



Despite the warnings, on Tuesday Civil Administration forces destroyed a number of illegal buildings in the nearby town of Umm el-Kheir, which had been built along the security fence of Carmel. A number of the buildings had been built with the support of the European Union.

Along with the US, the European Union and UK have also joined in the effort to prevent the destruction of the illegal Arab settlement near Sussiya.

In 2013 a court ordered Arab construction on the site halted, following an appeal by Regavim, an NGO which monitors illegal Arab building across Israel. A year later the court issued demolition orders for illegal structures already erected at the site.

In 2015 the Supreme Court rejected an appeal calling for a temporary reprieve from the demolition orders, giving a green light to the Civil Administration’s enforcement division.

On Wednesday Regavim issued a statement downplaying the reported threats by American officials and calling upon the Defense Ministry to carry out the enforcement orders.

“We call on the Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to ignore the improper foreign intervention in internal Israel affairs, which degrade the government of Israel and the Israeli justice system”.

“These are idle threats brought on by radical left-wing organizations, which ignore the laws and over and over again abuse the Supreme Court’s legal process.”


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