Many people submitted a petition in the Jerusalem District Court Wednesday against the Palestinian Authority, which built an illegal school within the Nahal Mahoch Nature Reserve, on state land.
The petition was filed in parallel with Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s announcement this morning that he would create seven new nature reserves in Judea and Samaria.
The site where the illegal construction was carried out spans some 18,000 dunams (4,450 acres) in the northern Judean Desert, extending from Mount Hatzor to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. The reserve is home to several species of rare flowers such as the Judean iris and the Tulipa agenensis, as well as several rare bird species. The sign posted on the school, which was built with EU funding and other foreign funds, indicates that the structure is owned and owned by the State of Palestine – Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
A photograph was attached to the petition from an official mapping site of the Palestinian Authority, which proves that the PA is well aware that the land is Israeli state land in the heart of a nature reserve.
The petition was resubmitted to the Jerusalem District Court in light of last week’s Supreme Court directive that the proceeding should be held in an administrative court, following the state’s statement that a demolition order was issued in February.
The new petition highlights the disenfranchisement of the enforcement authorities – in light of the fact that since the demolition orders were issued, an entire year has passed, during which the PA was able to complete the construction of the building and accommodate the students for the new school year.
The petitioners are suing the PA for breach of environmental protection laws, invasion of state land, and violation of planning and construction laws.
Meir Deutsch, CEO of the Regavim Movement, said that “Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s announcement of the declaration of new nature reserves in Judea and Samaria is a welcome and worthwhile step that has not been implemented for years. Bennett’s refreshing change in direction in maintaining Area C shows that there is an important and significant perceptual change here “
“At the same time, the petition demonstrates just how important the actual conservation of nature reserves is, and what the strategic significance of the PA is to take control of its nature reserves and its ambition to do so as far as it wants. Enforcement should look and be done, and one hour earlier,” he added.