Following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to demolish 9 homes in the town of Ofra (not to be confused with the Supreme Court decision to destroy the nearby neighborhood of Amona), the residents of Ofra filed a petition demanding the Supreme Court postpone the decision by three months, as their new homes will not be ready in time.
The demolition is currently set to take place by February 8.
On Friday, following a meeting with a delegation of Ofra residents, PM Netanyahu gave orders to begin drawing up construction plans for 68 new homes in Ofra as replacements and compensation for the 9 homes to be destroyed.
The question remains open if the Israeli Supreme Court will grant the residents the three months needed to prepare their new homes.
Ofra was built on land zoned and designated by the Israeli government for the town.
Residents of Ofra have been calling on the government to approve the Settlement “Normalization Bill” (also called the “Regulation Bill”), which is set to go to its second and third vote this week, according to statement made by PM Netanyahu at the cabinet meeting today.
The bill would resolve the land ownership issues for the settlements once and for all, though not for communities where the court already gave a ruling, such as Amona.
The “Normalization Bill” legislation would allow the government to compensate Arab land owners who are able to prove their claims of land ownership over the formerly empty plots where the settlements were built. The owners would either receive large financial package or an alternative plot of land.
In the case of land with unknown owners, the government could legally expropriate the land.
The legislation would require that the settlement had acted in good faith at the time it was built and they did not know the land was privately owned. They would also need to show some minimal form of government support in the town’s establishment.