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Report: Israeli court rebukes govt delay of outpost demo

May 6, 2012 3:46 P.M. (Updated: May 7, 2012 10:09 A.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israel's Supreme Court on Sunday criticized the Israeli government for failing to fulfill its legal obligation to demolish an illegal West Bank settlement, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

"When the state claims it will do something, we do not imagine that it will not be done. There is respect between the branches," Justice Uzi Fogelman was quoted as saying by Haaretz during a hearing to discuss the state's request to delay the decision.

In 2011, Israel's high court ruled that the neighborhood of Ulpana in Beit El settlement, near al-Bireh, must be evacuated by May 1, 2012.

Last Friday, the Israeli government asked the Supreme Court for a three-month delay in demolishing five apartment buildings in the settlement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government has come under intense pressure from within his own Likud party and from other pro-settler coalition allies to delay the demolition.

One cabinet member, Moshe Yaalon, warned that Netanyahu's coalition could fall apart if the homes were destroyed.

The government's request was supported by Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and senior officials from the State Prosecutors' Office, Haaretz said.

Lawyer Michael Sfard, who submitted the petition for Palestinian landowners, said the government's request to delay the decision was tantamount to contempt of court.

About 500,000 Israeli settlers and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. All settlements are illegal under international law.
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