After Court Decision, Construction of Illegal Mosque Resumes

View of the Palestinian village Burin, near the Jewish community of Har Bracha. (Flash90)

A partially built mosque built illegally on privately owned land is under construction once again – this time with the blessing of the High Court – after judges threw out a petition by the Regavim organization. The mosque is located in the Shomron village of Burin, located between Har Bracha and Yitzhar, along Road 60, the main north-south highway in central Shomron and Binyamin.

Construction of the mosque began nearly a decade ago, on land that is owned by a group of heirs who have the relevant documentation. Based on that, Regavim filed a petition against its construction in 2011 – and an order was issued to halt construction, pending the demolition of the structure. Only one of the landowners had apparently given his consent for construction of the mosque, and on that basis the court ordered that construction be halted.

Leftist and Arab groups filed petitions to allow construction to continue, although, as it turned out, none of the petitioners were among the group of landowners. The court issued its order based on the precedent established in previous cases in which it ordered the demolition of homes in Jewish towns, such as Amona, in which Arabs who claimed ownership of land demanded that homes built on that land be demolished.

But the principles applied to cases like Amona did not apply here, the court said. “Under these circumstances, in which none of the petitioners are owners of the land, the court sees no purpose in intervening in the process. As a result, we have decided not to set the agenda for enforcement of the law in this case.” As a result of the decision, construction of the mosque resumed this week, said Regavim.

“The court has made a clear statement here – that Arabs who illegally build on private land will not find themselves facing the strong enforcement that Jews who do the same face,” Regavim said in a statement. “In addition, the court has set a precedent for severe discrimination against our organization, which only files petitions on behalf of landowners, as opposed to the leftist groups in this case, who were given a clear decision upholding their petition, despite the fact that they represented none of the landowners.”