HCJ 9711/10, Mohamed Shabaneh v Commander of IDF Forces in the West Bank

In early 2010, a resident of the Palestinian village Sinjil noticed that his land had been invaded, parts of it fenced in with barbed wire, trees planted and an irrigation system installed. He immediately filed a complaint with the Israel Police regarding the invasion.

Three months later, the police closed the investigation file on grounds of “perpetrator unknown.” However, in March 2010, the legal advisor for the Judea and Samaria area recommended to the head of the Civil Administration issue an order concerning interfering use in private land against the intruders. This order is a legal measure that came into effect following Talya Sasson’s report, and is supposed to enable Israeli authorities to respond quickly to invasion of private Palestinian land by Israeli citizens.

In June 2010, the Civil Administration issued such an order and hung the orders up on the land in question, yet failed to enforce its own orders. As a result, Yesh Din petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) asking the Court to order the Civil Administration to enforce the order.

In its response to Yesh Din’s petition, the State announced it would implement the order as soon as possible and added that staff work was underway to determine the way in which such orders should be implemented.

However, the State later stated that there was an error in the order, and that a new one was required. At this stage, two Israeli residents of Givat Haroeh announced they had been farming the land for three years – and submitted an objection to the evacuation order.

In April 2012, the Civil Administration announced that it found that the two did not have property rights and thus must remove all structures and saplings in the area within three weeks. The two appealed the decision with the Military Appeals Committee. Later on, after the two withdrew the appeal and announced they would cease to use the land, the State announced in September 2013 that the invasion had been dealt with and as a result the petition was dismissed.

Petition Status: The petition was dismissed after the invaders and their property were removed. In December 2013, Chief Justice Asher Grunis ruled that the State would pay Yesh Din and the petitioner court expenses totaling NIS 10,000 and the trespasser would pay NIS 5,000.