Translation:Israeli Supreme Court decision on Aqaba demolition
In the Israeli Supreme Court sitting as a High Court of Justice
HCJ 143/04 HCJ 8440/04
Before Judges: The Honorable Edmond Eliyahu Levy, The Honorable Miriam Naor, The Honorable Yoram Danziger
Petitioners in HCJ 143/04: 1. Ahmad Hamdan Hasin Jaber 2. Mahmoud Zadek Mahmoud Sabah 3. Muhammad Zalah Abdal Karim Taleb 4. Hashem Husni Ali Sabih 5. Muhammad Hasin Jaber Jaber 6. Salah Muhammad Salah Taleb 7. Sami Zadek Sabih
Petitioners in HCJ 8440/04: 1. Mamoun Mahmoud Rashid Debek 2. Abed al-Baset Salem Muhammad Jaber 3. Na’eel Muhammad Salah Taleb 4. Rashid Ahmad Rashid Dabek 5. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Respondents in 143/04 and in 8440/04: 1. The State of Israel 2. Ministry of Defense 3. The Military Commander of Judea and Samaria 4. The Supreme Planning Council – Judea and Samaria 5. Civil Administration Officer for Internal Affairs 6. Supreme Planning Council 7. District Committee for Planning and Construction 8. Subcommittees for Supervision
A PETITION FOR CENCELLATION OF DEMOLITION ORDERS
Argued – April 17, 2008 (12 Nissan 5768)
For Petitioners in HCJ 143/04: Adv. Tusya-Cohen
For Petitioners in HCJ 8440/04: Adv. Anwar Abukatish
For Respondents: Adv. Gilad Sherman [State Attorney's Office]
Judge Edmond E. Levy:
In the two petitions before us, the Petitioners – residents of Hirbat Al Aqabah in the Jenin District – asked that we instruct the Respondents to cancel the demolition orders issued against homes and buildings that were built without permission. In addition, Petitioners asked that we instruct the Respondents to initiate a land-use plan for the District, which will answer the population’s needs in their places of living and will make possible the issuance of building permits. Finally, the Petitioners asked that we order a stay of the demolition orders for a period of 24 months, in order to enable the Petitioners to follow the proceedings for preparing a new master plan. We will not grant this last request, if only for the reason that their request was given to them by virtue of the fact that 4 years have elapsed since they filed their petitions. Despite the long time that has passed, we learned from the Petitioners’ attorney that Petitioners are merely in the stage of raising money for preparing such a plan.
As for the demolition orders themselves – Petitioners have no real cause for granting an order and receiving a remedy. Even if the planning authorities committed negligence by omission, and we do not say so, this does give permission for chaotic building and setting facts on the ground that may set obstacles for any future planning. Moreover, cancelling the demolition orders – as the Petitioners request – would be tantamount to the Court authorizing the [building] offenses, and it is obvious that Petitioners cannot win such a remedy.
The Respondents’ attorney explained in his brief that the authorities are taking steps, and have taken steps, to initiate planning proceedings where it is necessary for the population’s needs, and as an example, in 1995 a special land-use plan for the village Tajassir was authorized – and the Petitioners are members of this village. However, the Petitioners decided to build on land that was designated for agricultural purposes, and this we cannot accept.
Accordingly, all the petitions are rejected. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the Respondents’ statement (see Respondents Updated Brief from April 10, 2008) according to which a limited zone in the center of the village -- where there are residential buildings and public buildings built without a permit – has been marked, and the Respondents are not planning to demolish them for the time being.
Decided today, April 17, 2008 (12 Nissan 5768).
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