Israel court extends deadline to demolish 15 settler homes
Israel’s supreme court on Wednesday agreed to a government request to extend a deadline to demolish 15 settler homes found to have been built partly on private Palestinian land.
The deadline to demolish the homes in the Netiv Haavot wildcat settlement outpost in the occupied West Bank had been March 6. It has now been extended to June 15, according to a copy of the ruling.
Judges ordered the houses in the settlement, located south of Jerusalem, demolished in 2016. Some 50 families live in the settlement.
On Sunday, Israel’s government approved a plan aimed at legalising Netiv Haavot, though not the houses under a court order to be demolished, with the aim of eventually building 350 homes there, according to Israeli media.
The plan approved also reportedly includes some 60 million shekels ($17 million, 14 million euros) in compensation for the settlers living in the homes to be demolished and to provide temporary housing for them.
All Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal under international law, but Israel differentiates between those it has approved and those it has not.
Settlements not approved, such as Netiv Haavot, are referred to as outposts and residents hope to one day be granted authorisation.
Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. Settlements there are seen as major stumbling blocks to a peace deal since they are built on land the Palestinian wants for their future state.
Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live among nearly three million Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Prominent members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition openly oppose a Palestinian state.Punch