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Government Slammed for Putting Settlers Above Law

Israeli legal figures expressed surprise that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had thrown his support behind Prime Minister Netanyahu’s move to oppose the demolition of the structures built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

One legal figure said on Saturday that Weinstein had gone far beyond what had been acceptable to previous attorney generals, and that “international law cannot be ignored. It’s hard to believe that the High Court would support such a policy.”

Referring to Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood, the state told the High Court of Justice on Friday that “the implications of the demolition of the buildings could be severe” for the settlers. It said that since the construction started in the 1980s, demolishing the buildings could have “broader social implications” for other construction in Beit El and in other settlements.

The head of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “and his ministers are breaking a pledge to the High Court in a crude and unprecedented manner and are placing the settlers in the territories above the law.” Oppenheimer said the government had decided “to satisfy a few thousand settlers who are members of the Likud Central Committee.”

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