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July 31, 2015 / 15 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘High Court’

Migron Settlers’ Last Stand at High Court on Tuesday

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

On Tuesday morning, the Israeli Supreme Court headed by Justice Asher Grunis is expected to examine the claims of the Migron residents. Over the past few months, several residents purchased plots of land in the surrounding area; if the purchase claims of these residents are found to be in proper order, 17 out of the 50 families will be permitted to remain in the area, at best. The evacuation of the other families is expected to take place immediately after the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday.

Last week, Defense Ministry representatives approached Migron residents and urged them to voluntarily evacuate the outpost before the court hearing, in exchange for packing and moving service. General Eitan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria, stated that if the residents did not evacuate peacefully, a forced evacuation would take place on Tuesday. Residents were also told that they may lose the temporary residential site built for them about two kilometers from Migron if they refuse to evacuate.

Migron residents have said that they would refuse to evacuate willingly and would employ violence against IDF soldiers. Security sources suspect that extreme right-wing activists will descend upon the outpost to oppose the evacuating forces. Right-wing sources have already appealed to the soldiers, encouraging them to refuse to participate in the evacuation, and say that they are getting ready for the hour of the evacuation order.

Shuki Seth, a Migron resident, said that the pressure would not scare residents and that they are not planning to evacuate before the Supreme Court ruling. “I figure that the next stage will be that they start to give us orders, then they will threaten to cut off our water and electricity,” he said. “But we are not scared of manipulation. They did it in Gush Katif And they’ll do it here.”

Right-wing factions have also begun an aggressive campaign against Binyamin Netanyahu this week, pointing the finger of blame directly at the Prime Minister. According to these groups, he could have prevented the evacuation of Migron but refused to do so because of political considerations. The campaign, organized by Komemiyut – the committee of residents in the Shomron and Binyamin, has already publicized a variety of notices in weekend newspapers criticizing Netanyahu, with captions like “Migron’s Evacuation = Bibi” and “Netanyahu Destroys Migron Settlement”, etc.

Yesterday, Kommemiyut’s chairman, Mousa Cohen explained why Netanyahu is at the forefront of this new campaign: “Now he is showing his true colors,” Cohen said. “Netanyahu promised that he would strengthen the settlements, that he would command the Attorney General and not vice versa, and that he would make decisions in a forum of ministers. However, in practice, Bibi is destroying Migron and expelling the families, even though things could have obviously been done differently. The Prime Minister can no longer hide behind anyone’s apron. Someone who wants to play a hero’s role facing Ahmadinejad cannot be a coward when facing Yehuda Weinstein.”

Yariv Oppenheimer, Director General of Peace Now, called upon the residents to evacuate quietly: “What is expected from every Israeli citizen is also expected from the Migron residents. They should thank the Israeli government for building them two new settlements and agree to leave peacefully,” he said.

As of now, it remains unclear whether the outpost will be evacuated in the coming days. A source from the outpost predicted last night that the residents would not give in to pressure and would not evacuate before the Supreme Court ruling. Security forces are also anticipating that they will have to implement a forced evacuation.

Ulpana Resident Bemoan Relocation Ordeal

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In the coming days, following the High Court of Justice’s order and the Israeli Government’s decision, thirty families living in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El will be forced to leave their homes. It is yet unclear what will happen to the families that will be evicted, or what will happen to their homes. The homes were purchased legally; the purchasers received government grants and mortgages from banks. The reason they are being forced to leave their homes is because of two Arab plaintiffs who filed a petition to the Supreme Court claiming ownership of the land on which these homes were built. As the issue of land ownership is not debated in the Supreme Court, the hearing was transferred to the Jerusalem District Court; the opening session is scheduled for July 2012. The plaintiffs have yet to prove their ownership over the land, and yet the families living in these homes are being forced to leave.

Tazpit News Agency spoke with Vardina Biton, a resident of the Ulpana neighborhood, about what she faces in the future. Vardina, 30, mother of three, had lived in her home for the past six years. She and her husband initially came from northern Israel, and decided to live in Beit El after studying at the yeshiva and in schools in the vicinity. When they purchased their home they were not aware of any issues regarding the legal status of the land. Vardina says that when they decided to live in Beit El, they felt like emissaries, living in a part of Israel with strategic and historical importance.

Since the final decision to remove them from their homes, Vardina has been coping with mixed feelings and many uncertainties. She says she has not begun to pack, even though she stands to be evicted from her home in only a few days. “I have been primarily preparing myself mentally and emotionally, trying to contain the injustice that is being done to us,” she says. “I feel much pain and frustration. A person can do right and be right, and there are other solutions other then expelling us from our homes, and yet we must endure these wrongdoings. I am a 7th grade teacher. I witness brawls between my students, and see that the girls can come to a fair solution to the problem at hand. Somehow, the government failed to do likewise, proceeding with a discriminating solution instead.”

Police and right wing activists are bracing for possible violence during the removal of the Ulpana neighborhood residents from their homes. Various options to protest the expulsion have been suggested. Vardina is ambivalent regarding the pending battle the may be waged over the houses. She believes there should be a rabbinical leadership that should decide on the nature of the struggle. She says she can understand those who are talking about violent resistance. Many people are deeply pained by the court’s decision and by the government’s conduct, feeling that a great injustice is being committed. As for herself, she says she is not a violent person and has no desire to harm anyone. She does not know how she will react when the police knock on her door and demand that she leaves her home.

After the attempt to pass the “Regulation Law” in the Knesset failed, Vardina believes there are still better ways to resolve the current predicament. She explains that as of now, no legal ownership has been proven in a court of law. The land that the homes are built on has been purchased by the current residents. The alleged Arab owner claims the land was purchased from the wrong person. “No one had malevolent intent; no one intended to steal anyone’s land,” she states. However, the High Court of Justice ruled that the houses must be evacuated and demolished. Vardina says there are other plausible options: the land can be purchased from the alleged owner or the government can declare the land state owned and offer him compensation. She feels that the court ruled hurriedly, and that the government did not work hard enough to find a proper and just solution. “The fact that I live in Beit El doesn’t make me a second rate citizen. We serve the country and pay taxes. My husband fought in the IDF during The Second Lebanon War, just weeks after his wedding. It seems that there was not a real desire to save the homes, and therefore they did not work hard enough to find a solution.”

Bill to Save Ulpanah Hill Defeated

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The Knesset on Wednesday rejected the proposed bill to save the Ulpanah Hill neighborhood, which was ordered by the High Court to be demolished at the end of this month.

The bill, knows as the “Regulatory Law,” put a time limit on the rights of Arab claimants to sue Jewish settlers, while providing for market value compensation for plaintiffs who prove their case in magistrate court.

If passed, the bill would have circumvented the High Court decision, although Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has warned that even if the bill passes, it was likely to be killed as unconstitutional by the court, as to date Israel is yet to apply its law to the territories of Judea and Samaria.

In a preliminary reading, the Knesset voted the bill down by 69 to 22.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to oppose the bill and demanded that his minister vote his party line under threat of dismissal.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Wednesday that his Yisrael Beiteinu party will vote with the government against the bill, after approved Netanyahu’s alternative plan to remove the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and transfer the houses to a nearby former army base.

The Netnayahu plan, approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, is to uproot relocate the five houses in question to an abandoned military base near the town of Beit El, and to build an additional 300 new housing units in that base.

Netanyahu is hoping to discourage Arabs and the anti-Israeli leftist organizations which support and encourage their law suits, as each one of their “successes” would result in multiple new Jewish homes in nearby areas.

Dep. PM Ya’alon Advising Ulpana Residents to Abandon Hope on ‘Regulatory Law’

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Speaking to Israel’s Army Radio in advance of the Wednesday Knesset vote on the “Regulatory law” which has been rocking local politics, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon compared the dilemma between the evacuation of Jewish homes and enacting retroactive legislation to circumvent the High Court’s ruling to a choice between eating a Neveila and a Treifa (two different kinds of kosher animals which, because of the manner of their death, are prohibited to eat).

Both versions of the proposed regulatory bill introduce the concept of a statute of limitation on Arab lawsuits against Jewish settlers, ensuring that after a certain period of time homes would not demolished, regardless of the veracity of the claims by the original owner, and said owner would receive full market value for his property, or an equivalent parcel of land.

“We tried to find a solution. We realized that we cannot use acquisition and similar solutions. We are now in a complex dilemma,” Ya’alon said.

Ya’alon explained that the Likud is facing two problematic choices: “On the one hand, we can’t ignore the High Court, on the other hand we have given our commitment to the residents.”

Ya’alon added that “there are those out there with populist slogans. We need to decide if we’re going to support a dangerous legislation.”

Ya’alon said that according to his own understanding of the proposed law, it might be disqualified as unconstitutional because it would be the first time Israel will have enacted a law to be enforced in Judea and Samaria, without initial legislation to assert its ownership over those territories.

“It could well be that the law is passed, then disqualified – and then we’ll be destroying homes,” Ya’alon cautioned. “We’ll end up eating the rotten fish and getting thrown out of town.”

Regarding his own opposition to the regulatory law, Ya’alon explained that “when I realized that we must choose between eating a Neveila or a Treifa, I saw that the best way would be to try and formulate the answer the Prime Minister has offered – which is better than the birds in the tree the legislation is promising.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s solution involves physically relocating the five offending houses of Ulpana Hill to an abandoned military base a kilometer away.

Like Ya’alon, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias (Shas), told the Army Radio that his party would toe the line and not vote for the proposed regulatory law, thus disappointing many right-wing MKs.

“We won’t vote against the coalition’s position, and we won’t support the regulatory law, certainly our ministers won’t,” Attias insisted. “We’re not about to stir up a coalition crisis over this issue.”

Attias added that in a coalition government with 40 ministers, the other coalition MKs don’t stand a chance in a dispute with Netanyahu. “You neutralize 40 ministers, that’s it, the law doesn’t pass,” he said.

According to protocol, a vote against the Prime Minister’s directive by a government minister is grounds for dismissal.

It is not yet clear whether Netanyahu will impose “coalition discipline” in tomorrow’s vote, forcing his own Likud faction members to vote according to party line. This may prove necessary, as currently coalition whip Ze’ev Elkin is closely associated with MKs who are proposing the new legislation, as is Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The daily Ma’ariv reported Tuesday that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and the rest of the Israel Beiteinu faction ministers will also oppose the law.

Attorney: Ulpana Court Ruling an Outrage

Monday, June 4th, 2012

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?

The Migron Litmus Test

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The recent Israeli High Court ruling striking down the compromise agreement between Israel’s government and the residents of Migron was logical. It was a realistic commentary on the state of affairs between the government and the court. In truth, the question that was laid at the High Court’s doorstep was not about Migron and not about property rights. It was much more basic than that. The question that the High Court was asked to decide was to whom the Land of Israel belongs.

The significance of the High Court’s ruling, that a Jewish settlement must be destroyed without any petition staking a claim to the land upon which Migron is built, is that the Land of Israel does not belong to the Jews – but rather to the Arabs. The Jews, according to the High Court, live in the Land of Israel with temporary resident status, as guests – a status completely different from that of the Arabs living here.

The deeper truth is that the High Court’s approach reflects that of Israeli society. The Israelis love the land, but after years of leftist thought manipulation they have adopted leftist temporary mentality and feel like guests in their land. It is the Arab who is here forever, the Arab who is the unmovable boulder. The Jew is a temporary guest who must apologize for his presence here.

Sound extreme? Just ask yourself what would happen if the tables were turned. Is it even remotely possible that an Arab village in Israel would be completely destroyed because of such an unfounded claim? The High Court would not even allow a hearing to come near it, and in a thicket of convoluted reasoning and legalese the system would determine the same preposterous principle that the Land of Israel belongs to the Arabs.

As long as the High Court justices elect themselves, the High Court will continue to bequeath its legacy of “a state of all its citizens” to the public. There is actually nothing to complain about, for this is their view – and the political branch of government empowers it.

Every child learns in his first civics lesson that the people are the sovereign. The parliament and the elected government actualize the rule of the people. The court’s role is to explain the laws legislated by the parliament. If Israel would have a justice system that represents the public’s values (in other words, if the justices would be filtered in some way by the state’s elected officials), Migron would never have been an issue.

When a home is built and after many years an unfounded claim on the property is made, any legal system would call, maximally, for compensation. And this would happen only after the claim was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But the High Court operates by a political worldview that is different than that of the vast majority of the public. The public – the sovereign – is then forced to enact another law to underscore its will. That is how the law that would legalize the outposts was born. The law is moderate, and begs to be legislated.

Many refer to the Outpost Law as a law that circumvents the High Court. That terminology is false, Orwellian newspeak in the finest tradition of Israel’s Left. The Knesset does not circumvent the High Court; the Knesset is the sovereign. It is the High Court that circumvented the Knesset. The Knesset is being forced to enact the Outpost Law to protect the public from the political whims of the High Court. The Outpost Law is moral, eminently legal, and supremely democratic. It is a step that, besides protecting Migron, will preserve the sovereignty of the people (namely, democracy and the law). It will also preserve the rule of the Likud, as another Amona will necessarily lead to its downfall.

What is preventing the legislation? One minister who believes in judges more than in God, and another minister or two who lean left and are subordinate to the politics inside the justice system. And don’t forget an entire imbroglio of leftist organizations and interests, and of course the media – the Sword of Damocles, ready and waiting to defame Prime Minister Netanyahu for trampling the “rule of law.”

In his quest to keep all those forces at bay, Netanyahu is not allowing the ministers to vote for the Outpost Law. But without the votes of the Likud ministers and MKs, there will not be a majority for the law.

If, God forbid, Netanyahu goes through with the destruction of Migron, he will suffer much more political harm than if he demonstrates leadership and solves the problem now.

Two ministers have already announced that they will vote in favor of the Outpost Law: Yisrael Katz and Moshe Kahlon. We wholeheartedly bless them and expect the other Likud MKs to follow in their footsteps. Ministers or MKs who do not vote in favor of the law should not expect our support in the Likud primaries.

Knesset Speaker: Elections in September; New Law Will Reduce Power of High Court; Pollard Will Go Free

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) is convinced that elections for Israel’s next government will be held in five months, this coming September. In his opinion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing at least two serious problems—the Tal Law and the state budget—which require setting priorities under pressures from special interest groups within the coalition government.

“There are social and economic issues, there are also elections in the United States. Netanyahu will prefer to put those problems behind, not before him, which is why he will seek the ballot box,” Rivlin told Ma’ariv in a special holiday interview, to be published Thursday.

There’s one major reason why Rivlin is interested in going to the voter soon: he does not believe that the current Knesset could pass the legislation titled “Basic Law: Legislation,” which has been stirring up a political storm in recent days. Rivlin believes that the proposed law, much of it his own brainchild, could receive a majority in the current Knesset, especially if Netanyahu decided not to support it.

Rivlin delivered the new Basic Law regarding legislation to Justice Minister Ya’akov Neeman. The bill is designed to dramatically change the balance of power between the Supreme Court and the Knesset. According to the proposed law, the Supreme Court will, for the first time, be given explicit authority to overturn laws – but a majority of 65 Knesset members will suffice to overturn the court’s decision.

Rivlin believes that much of the resistance to his bill is not based on the merit of giving the legislator a more equal footing with the court over disputed laws, but, rather, over the size of the special majority needed to overturn a court decision. He thinks that many more MKs would join him if the bill called for a special majority of 70.

To date, inside the coalition government, Rivlin’s bill is being opposed by ministers Ehud Barak, Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, by Likud MK Yariv Levin, and by senior legal officials.

Rivlin explained in his particularly unique language the issues his bill is intended to resolve:

“MKs from the right have been complaining that they are legislating on the basis of political considerations, and then the court comes and interprets their intentions in a way that is the exact opposite of what they had in mind. It’s like (Israel’s poet laureate Nachman) Bialik’s poem ‘Ken La’Tzipor’ (The Bird’s Nest). I can say that the bird is an eagle, someone else can say that the bird is a parrot, a third one says it’s a hoopoe. Comes the Court and determines that the bird is an elephant. This cannot be.”

In the same interview, Rivlin says he is certain that the efforts being made by President Shimon Peres to free Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard will be successful.

“Peres will bring him home,” Rivlin declares, and with the same breath he attacks US Jews, who stayed clear of the Pollard affair. “Unfortunately, they abandoned Pollard,” says Rivlin. “They all think he’s lucky they didn’t give him the death penalty.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/knesset-speaker-elections-in-september-new-law-will-reduce-power-of-high-court-pollard-will-go-free/2012/04/11/

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