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July 29, 2015 12:15 pm

Israeli High Court Rejects Appeal, Orders Demolition of Disputed Beit El Homes

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A view of Beit El. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

A view of Beit El. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. – Israel’s High Court of Justice on Wednesday morning rejected an appeal against the demolition of two disputed residential structures in the Dreinoff neighborhood in Samaria’s Beit El community. The ruling means that the structures must be demolished by Thursday.

Following the High Court’s ruling, violent clashes erupted in Beit El between activists and security forces as the demolition process got underway. Stones were thrown at security personnel.

The “Dreinoff houses” were built on private Palestinian land appropriated under a security injunction. Eight months ago, the High Court ruled that the construction had been conducted without proper permits and was illegal, issuing a demolition order for July 30.

The Beit El saga has caused unrest within the Israeli governing coalition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was angered by the criticism unleashed by the Jewish Home party against the government on the matter.

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“We are working to strengthen the settlement enterprise, and we will do so in compliance with the law,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday, “My position is clear. I’m against the demolition and am seeking to prevent it, and I’m acting to strengthen the settlement enterprise in Beit El in particular and Judea and Samaria in general. … In any case, [on the Beit El issue] we will operate solely in accordance with the law and the decision of the High Court of Justice.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home’s leader, on Tuesday demanded a “clarification” from Netanyahu on the Beit El issue.

“The time has come for the nationalist government to abide by the ideology for which it was elected, rather than the path of the left,” he said.

Following Wednesday’s ruling, Bennett added, “The decision is dissipating, but it is binding. There must be no violence, under any circumstances.”

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