Israel’s Supreme Court has agreed to the state’s request to delay the demolition of 15 homes in the illegal settlement outpost of Netiv Ha’avot, located in the southern occupied West Bank.
The court extended the deadline by three months, until 15 June, in order to allow for the construction of temporary housing for the residents.
The court did, however, reject another state request, namely that in the case of six of the 15 buildings, to only demolish those parts of the structures which cross into privately-owned Palestinian land.
Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal.
In today’s ruling, the court highlighted how the homes in question were not just built on privately-owned Palestinian land, but were also “constructed without permits and after stop-work and demolition orders were handed down to the residents the moment they began building them”.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he welcomed the court’s ruling, as “it will enable us to complete the dialogue with the residents and reach an agreed solution”, said the Times of Israel.
On Sunday, the paper noted, the Israeli cabinet “approved a proposal to begin the process of legalizing Netiv Ha’avot”, a decision which does not cover the 15 homes slated for demolition.
However, the settlers “intend to utilise the legalisation of the remainder of the outpost, where over 20 other families live, to advance the construction of 350 more homes, thereby significantly expanding the neighbourhood.”
In addition, the Israeli government also approved a sum of 53 million shekels ($15.2 million) to cover both temporary accommodation for the evicted settlers, as well as compensation for their illegally-built homes.