State Asks Court for Delay in Netiv Ha’avot Demolition

One of the homes scheduled to be demolished in the Netiv Ha’avot neoghborhood in Gush Etzion. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

State attorneys sought a delay in the demolition of the Netiv Ha’avot outpost in Gush Etzion ordered by the High Court, saying more time was needed to finish construction of temporary housing for the evacuees and to prepare a legal solution to save some of the existing structures from being torn down, The Times of Israel reported on Tuesday night.

The state asked the Court for three more months to make the caravan community on a nearby hilltop approved by the government last month ready for occupancy by the 15 families.

The extra time would also be used to develop a proposal for retroactive building permits for seven of the 15 homes slated for demolition. Since the buildings are only partially on ground not belonging to the state, it will be proposed that the “problematic parts” of those homes be sawed off, while the rest would be allowed to remain standing.

The destruction of the homes is scheduled to be carried out in two weeks.

The families submitted a letter along with the request for a delay in which they pledged to go quietly during the eviction, though they said afterwards it was signed under duress.

In the letter, they promised “to evacuate the homes without resistance, without violence, and refrain from bringing demonstrators into [their] homes as much as [they] can.”

One of the signatories, Netiv Ha’avot resident Rachel Bulvik, protested that she only went along with it “out of responsibility to her children,” so they would not be without shelter, but called the measure “offensive.”

“We wouldn’t have been violent in the first place,” she told The Times, pointing out that the actions of youthful protesters on the day of an evacuation is beyond the residents’ control and that the letter doesn’t change that.

Upon submission of the petition, the 15 families released a joint statement explaining that they signed the letter to ensure that their 62 children “would not be left without a roof over their heads.”

They called on the government to legalize their entire outpost and advance the construction of another 350 homes in response to the demolition.

Peace Now condemned the state petition as a “brazen request,” in view of the fact that the government had a year and half to prepare for the evacuation.

“Yet the government has done nothing to be prepared in time,” the NGO said in a statement.