Supreme Court of Israel. cc: wikipedia
Last week we represented the residents of the Palestinian village of Susya and defended them from the “Regavim” appeal. We realized that the court does not recognize the discriminating planning regime, which does not allow Palestinians to build their homes. Here follows our press release following the court hearing; comments by Rabbi Arik Ascherman who was present at the hearing; and an interview with Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asad by Tami Molad-Hayu for the Voice of Peace radio.
Today’s initial High Court discussion regarding the petition of “Regavim” demanding the demolition of the Palestinian village of Susya was largely procedural, but highlighted the dangers to the village:
1. In all likelihood the court will accede to Regavim’s request for an order freezing all building by the Palestinians.
2. The judges exhibited a very narrow and formalistic approach to the situation.
Wednesday’s High Court discussion largely dealt with the procedural question of whether to unite Regavim’s petition to demolish Susya and other petitions to prevent the demolition of Susya. However, during the course of the discussion the judges indicated that they were inclined to accede to Regavim’s request for a temporary restraining order that could paralyze the lives of the residents. This approach unfortunately indicates a formalistic “Law and order” approach which doesn’t take into account the radically different civilian and legal status of Palestinians under military rule, as opposed to settlers who are citizens of the country ruling the territory. We hope that the Court will eventually favor an approach focusing on the actual realities, as opposed to a formalistic and procedural blindness to the inequality inherent in the status of the two populations. The procedural approach ignores questions of institutionalized discrimination in the Occupied Territories which are incompatible with the basic principles of democracy.
Even according to the a dry and formal approach the regional military commander is obligated to the principles of international law that require the military regime to attend to the welfare of the population over which it rules. It can not be said that the regime is doing this in situation in which the village can not legally build even one home for its residents, after the army as the ruling authority has twice forcibly expelled from their lands.
Rabbis for Human Rights, representing the residents of Susya against Regavim and the adjacent settlement also named Susya, will continue to fight for justice in the rest of the High Court discussions. We will attempt to expose and debunk the underlying base assumptions which Regavim has used to mislead the Court, even has the State has acquiesced through silence.
An unexpected result: Rabbi Arik Ascherman’s impressions from the court hearing of Regavim’s petition against the residents of the Palestinian village of Susya:
After all our preparations we had an unexpected result when the Supreme Court judges decided to join together the different cases of Susya, and to set an additional court date in 4 months. Nothing essential happened in court. Even the indication that the court will issue an interim order to freeze the building in the village of Susya, reflects the preservation of the status quo. But, as we explain in our press release, the atmosphere was distressing.
In the time between this hearing to the next one we will be again in court (on July 25th) with another appeal. It is our demand to give the Palestinian authority to plan their communities in area C.
I do not have enough words to thank all those who worked many hour to help to defend the residents of Susya: Adv.Avital Sharon; the head of the legal department Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asaad and the rest of the legal team: Keren, Mia, Neta, Muhamed and Guy; the communication team: Yariv, Mati and Kobbi; the secretaries Rivka and Tiferet;Dror Etkes; the backup of the organization’s Executive Director, Ayala; our partners from Taayush and Breaking the Silence; the organization’s rabbis; Rabbi Wittenberg from British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights, and all the diplomats who came to court; special thanks to those who translated in court; and a big thank you to the brave Susya residents who experience the pressure and violence, and who trusted us and let us represent them in court.
The curtain rose; no one can know what will be the end of the play, but we promise to do our best to reach a just ending.
The Court Hearing on the Voice of Peace radio
Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asaad in an interview on Tami Molad-Hayu’s program talks about the Palestinian Village of Susya in the South Hebron Hills, the village that Regavim organization is trying to bring to its eviction.
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