The behavior of Israel’s Attorney General and the Israeli government regarding ownership of the Ulpana Hill land (as well as Migron and other communities) is an outrage which best befits the most vile and despised regimes.
The High Court ruled that the state must demolish the houses at the Ulpana Hill neighborhood in Beit El by July 1, 2012 (by the way, adding an Arab judge to a panel that deals with a political issue such as the Judea and Samaria settlements requires a great deal of malice and hatred).
The High Court had not established that the land belongs to a particular Arab. The High Court could not determine this because the identity of the owner and the matter of the ownership of that land is still in litigation in District Court. The High Court did not hear witnesses nor conduct a trial to determine the facts. The High Court of Justice does not have the authority to determine facts.
In the houses that are slated for demolition live hundreds of men, women and children. The houses belong to them. They purchased the land and invested their own and their parents’ savings in those homes. They received state approval to build those homes. They took out mortgages – which they will have to continue to pay the banks even after the destruction of their homes.
Did the High Court of Justice not consider it a matter of elementary justice to add those homeowners and residents as a party to the court proceedings? Did those homeowners and residents not have the fundamental, human, legal right to present their position before the High Court against the enemies of the state—Arabs and leftists—who did receive from the court the status of a party in a dispute over land and homes they did not possess?
The High Court issued its decision “following the state announcement (that it would destroy the houses which were built on ‘private land’), a ruling was given regarding the petition (the first one, in 2011).
This is what was stated in the High Court ruling: “We have noted the state’s announcement dated May 1, 2011, and the message delivered today to the court that following a resolution adopted at a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and other government ministers, as well as the Attorney General, that buildings on private land will be removed, as opposed to construction on state land; it has been decided that the construction … be removed within one year of submission of that notification …”
Who decided that the land on which those homes were built was “private land”? The High Court’s response:
“Arguments raised by respondent No. 6, the Beit El Kiryat HaYeshiva, regarding the purchase of land by the ‘Amanah’ settlement movement, were examined by the state and were rejected, as it was presented to the court during deliberations of the petition, because the structures were built on land that was registered by the land registry records (Tabo). There is no valid purchase claim as long as the registry records have not been changed. It was further reported by the state that there was no record of a request for a transaction license for the alleged purchase, and in the absence of such license, the transaction – whatever its nature – is not valid (state message dated Jan. 1, 2010).”
In other words, the High Court accepts, without any discussion or examination of the facts, the state’s position on the ownership of the disputed land.
And why did the state reject the claim that the land was acquired by the people of Beit El? The state’s response, as accepted by the court: the land ownership registration is not complete!
So what? Tens of thousands of homes in the country are in a state of “incomplete registry” – is the state going to destroy those structures, too? Will any person off the street who lays a claim of ownership against any of these homes receive a court order to demolish them?
If the registration has not yet been altered – does that prove that no transaction was in place? Does the High Court even understand how long it takes to complete land registration in Judea and Samaria? Does the High Court not know that political elements within the Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria (staffed by a considerable number of Arabs) deliberately delay registration procedures?
About the Author: Menahem Gurman, Esq is a New York City based attorney, a graduate of the Hebrew University and New York University.
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