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Judges Grill State Over Settlement Policy

Israel’s Supreme Court held a hearing on the government’s request to delay the razing of the Ulpana neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

The three-judge panel criticized the state’s request during Sunday’s hearing, calling it “unprecedented” to review a closed case.

The high court had ruled in September that the five apartment buildings found to be built on private Palestinian land be razed by May 1. The state had specifically told the court that it would obey the ruling on the Ulpana neighborhood. But on April 27, the State Attorney’s Office notified the court that the government would wait on the demolition pending a review of its policies regarding West Bank structures built on contested and privately owned land.

“You are in essence seeking to change your policy post-verdict. This is unheard of,” Justice Uzi Vogelman said during the hearing.

“When the State says it intends to do something and the prime minister commits to it, we do not consider a scenario in which it doesn’t get done. There is mutual respect between the authorities,” he added.

Justice Salim Joubran accused the government of making “a habit” out of asking for exemptions, something he called “unhealthy judicially,” Ynet reported.

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