Can Israel’s courts deliver justice for Palestinians?

The Supreme Court decision to give a green light to the demolitions of buildings in areas under PA jurisdiction has raised questions [File: Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images]
The Supreme Court decision to give a green light to the demolitions of buildings in areas under PA jurisdiction has raised questions. (photo: Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images)
Critics question merit of engaging with Supreme Court after it allows demolition of buildings under Palestinian control.

By Ben White |  Al Jazeera | Jul 17, 2019

…it is the court’s intervention – or lack of it – in Israel’s discriminatory planning system and associated demolition of Palestinian homes which has perhaps been most under the spotlight of late..

The demolition of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is a routine occurrence.

But in Sur Baher, a neighbourhood southeast of Jerusalem, an unprecedented mass demolition is looming – with the approval of Israel’s top court.

Ten inhabited and under-construction buildings, containing dozens of apartments, are marked for destruction, after falling foul of a 2011 Israeli military order prohibiting construction within a 100-300-metre buffer zone of the separation wall.

While most of Sur Baher lies within Israel’s unilaterally-annexed East Jerusalem municipal boundary, part of the community’s land lies in the West Bank – land that has nevertheless ended up on the “Israeli” side of the internationally-condemned wall that has been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice.

Last month, Israel’s Supreme Court gave the green light for the demolition in Sur Baher – even though the buildings in question were built on land designated under the civilian control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), from whom construction permits were duly obtained.

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