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Israeli court approves petition to halt illegal construction

July 28, 2011 5:41 P.M. (Updated: July 30, 2011 12:39 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian residents from the village of Ein Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah have successfully petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice to rule against the construction of a waste facility built illegally on their land.

The court issued an injunction against the operation of a waste purification facility which was built illegally on Palestinian land for the use of the nearby settlement of Ofra.

The Palestinian petitioners were supported by Israeli rights group Yesh Din.

The ruling prohibits connecting the facility to the electricity grid and its continued use in any other way.

"Today the court heard a grave affair, that I believe is also criminal, in which the state authorities stole private Palestinian land and used it to build this facility based on a fictitious permit," Michael Sfard from the Yesh Din legal team said.

"Unfortunately, this is not the only case of this sort, and such projects of theft and illegal building that include governmental involvement are common all over the West Bank. My clients have yet to receive their land back, and Yesh Din will continue assisting them in their struggle for justice."

Court expenses were also awarded to the petitioners, the statement said, to the sum of 20,000 NIS.

The judges involved in the hearing said that if the waste facility is not authorized in the next few months the Israeli state will be obliged to destroy it.

Construction of the waste facility began in 2007 and was built on private Palestinian property without their permission.

The facility annexed roughly 37 dunams of private land.

The project was funded by Israeli government budgets and largely executed by government agencies, Yesh Din said.
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