Following a petition of The Society of St. Yves to the Israeli High Court - New Procedures adopted by ICA by Which Postponements Should be Given Before executing Demolition Orders
On 16.8.2016 the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) demolished seven homes in addition to animal barns belonging to the Shalaldeh family in Se'ir / Hebron district.
The ICA refused the appeals submitted by the Shalaldeh family through St. Yves on 28.6. 2016, but only informed St. Yves of its rejection of the appeals on 15.8.2016, in the afternoon, by fax to St. Yves offices. In other words, the ICA withheld its decision of rejecting the appeals, and only communicated it few hours before the mass demolitions took place, which prevented St. Yves from the possibility of submitting petitions and the right to due process as guaranteed by the laws, reflecting a clear bad faith attitude by the ICA.
Such deliberated tactic by ICA is meant to deny the Palestinian owners from the right to object before the court and the right to due just process, or to continue with planning procedures. Before the demolition of the Shaladeh’s family houses, they had the right to file a petition to the High Court of Justice, the right to file a request for an exemption of the demand for a building permit [according to article 7(4) of order 418], and the right to submit a detailed plan.
The Jordanian planning law which is applicable in such cases establishes the right to submit an appeal against the rejection of a building permit application within 30 days. However, Israeli military orders on the Jordanian planning law were silent on enabling a postponement after rejecting other procedures.
The ICA took advantage of this legal vacuum and sent decisions in the evening right before executing the demolition orders, without giving the chance for any postponements before carrying out the demolitions in certain cases. In order to prevent the demolition, many lawyers were had to submit petitions in the late night hours and in other cases the demolitions were carried out when the construction owners or their attorney did not even know of the ICA’s decision of rejection of their appeals.
After the demolition of the Shalaldeh family homes, St. Yves decided to attack ICA’s procedures and policy in a principal manner and a petition was submitted ( HCJ 71/8319 Society of St. Yves – the Catholic Center for Human rights v. The military commander in the west bank area).
As a result, the state submitted a response on the 21st of June 2017, and announced establishing a new procedure, “postponements after rejecting objections, detailed plans and request for an exemption from the demand for a building permit procedure".
The ICA’s new procedure sets that in the cases of rejection of objections, detailed plan or a request for an exemption, a postponement of 14 days will be given. The new procedures also defines submission as including submissions by fax after receiving confirmation by phone, which is an additional positive obligation, as the ICA had no obligation before that to make sure its decisions were properly delivered and received.
The new procedures also states that in exceptional cases, in which there is an urgent “need” to carry out the demolition, a postponement of only 48 hours will be given.
The Society of St. Yves mainly objects against the short notice in the urgent cases and will insist that the new procedures are not sufficient in terms of durations granted for postponement. Nevertheless, the new procedures are still considered an important achievement which might save many houses and structures from imminent demolition.
Advocate Zvi Avni represents the Society of St. Yves in the petition.