Khirbat Zanuta Petition – Still No Solution

Residents of Zanuta at the Supreme Court

Court gives parties 30 days to submit additional responses; State must offer a solution for the village residents; petitioners must explain why they did not propose a plan for the area.


Today (30 July 2012), the Israeli High Court of Justice, in a panel of 3 justices (Arbel, Melcer, and Sohlberg) heard arguments in the petition of residents of the village Khirbat Zanuta and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) against the Civil Administration’s decision to demolish the village.


During the hearing, the justices delivered harsh criticism of the State for its intent to demolish the village without suggesting a solution for its residents. The petitioners were also criticized for not submitting a proposed plan for the area. In its decision, the High Court required the State to update it regarding a solution for the residents; the petitioners, for there part, are required to explain why they did not attempt to propose a plan for the area. Both sides were given 30 days to respond.


Following the hearing, ACRI Attorney Nira Shalev stated: “Today, the High Court reminded the State of Israel of a responsibility it has been forgetting during 45 years of occupation: the responsibility to protect the rights and well-being of Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories. This responsibility carries with it the State’s duty to recognize villages that existed before the occupation and to provide planning solutions for their residents.”


More details about the hearing:

Attorney Yitzhak Bart, the representative of the State Attorney, said in relation to the possibility of approving an alternative plan for the village: “No engineer will sign off on this kind of plan. I don’t see a solution for these people.” Justice Hanan Melcer said: “If you demolish [the structures], what will the residents do? The State has a responsibility as the ruling authority. What will you do with these people? Do you have a solution for them?”


Later on, Justice Melcer stated: “If you want to create order, you must find solutions.” He continued to emphasize, “The same law applies to everyone. You cannot demolish without finding an alternative.”


When Attorney Bart claimed that to the best of his knowledge, “The military commander does not need to find solutions for people who built without permits,” Justice Edna Arbel responded: “So where will the 27 families go? I recommend that you check the possibilities for these residents.” Justice Arbel added, on a personal note, “This is disturbing to us. We also have a responsibility.”


The Justices also criticized the petitioners for not presenting a plan for the village. Attorney Nira Shalev from ACRI pointed out that such a plan is the State’s responsibility and it is unfair to burden the village with such an immense and expensive task, and furthermore that it would be a futile exercise since the State stated explicitly that it could not possibly approve a plan for the village since it does not adhere to criteria established by the Civil Administration.


For the protocol of this hearing (in Hebrew), click here.

For background information on this case (in English), click here.

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Categories: Area C Villages, Housing Rights, International Humanitarian Law, The Occupied Territories, The Right to Property

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One Response to Khirbat Zanuta Petition – Still No Solution

  1. Alice כתב:

    I also attended the hearing and wrote about it on my blog:

    I published your handout on it,

    Hope you like it