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Developments in Ongoing Cases

Bir Hadaj – In May, the High Court of Justice heard the petition we submitted on behalf of private landowners whose rights we have been defending in this matter for over a decade. We are seeking the removal of hundreds of Bedouin families who are squatting on this private property. The hearing was concluded with a court instruction to the government to provide an update in six months on its progress in regulating the illegal Bedouin settlements and curbing illegal construction.

Bir Hadaj has made headlines a number of times in recent months, as reports of lawlessness and criminal activity that originate in this illegal squatters camp rocked the country. Recently, we publicized video footage of IDF officers who were assaulted and run off the road by a band of Bedouin thieves they caught stealing IDF equipment during a training exercise. The footage we circulated caused a media storm and public outcry about the situation in southern Israel, which led to a decision by Minister of Interior Amir Ohana to initiate a large-scale law enforcement operation in the area.

Media coverage:

Times of Israel: Police crack down on Bedouin town at center of military base theft altercation

The Arab City in IDF Firing Zone 917” – IDF Firing Zone (training grounds) 917 is located in a strategically crucial area that connects the Arad Valley to the Hebron Hills region. Over the past number of years, hundreds of illegal structures have been built, with the encouragement of the Palestinian Authority and generous financial assistance of the European Union and other foreign governments and non-government organizations. In the hearing of our petition, in June, the state’s representative announced that the government intends to consider “in-situ regulation,” for all intents and purposes whitewashing and legalizing the illegal structures in this strategic location. In consideration of the state’s declaration of intent, the High Court rejected out petition, calling it ‘irrelevant’ because it sought demolition of the illegal structures while the state announced that it would consider the possibility of legalizing the structures in their current location. This High Court decision essentially granted immunity to thousands of illegal structures built expressly for the purpose of seizing control of a key strategic area and creating a swath of contiguous Arab settlement stretching from the Arad Valley to the Arab population centers in Judea and Samaria. Shortly after this decision was handed down, the High Court struck down the Regulation Law (as detailed above). After our petition was rejected, we release a video clip on social media (in Hebrew) that quickly went viral, illustrating the court’s behavior as High Court of (Relative) Justice.

The Kidah Case – In 2018, as part of our legal battle against the Palestinian Authority’s agricultural land seizure projects, we submitted an exemplar-case petition to the High Court of Justice, involving trespassing, planting and illegal construction by Arabs on state land near the Jewish community of Kidah in the Binyamin Region, on a strategic spot overlooking the main traffic thoroughfare of the area. The state recently requested that the petition be erased, arguing that the squatters had been served eviction notices, but the actual eviction has been delayed by an appeal filed by the squatters. A year has passed since the appeal was filed, but no hearing of the appeal has been held to date, leading Justice Solberg to deny the state’s request and to require the government to provide the court an update on the status of the case within 45 days