HCJ 9410/10 Ahmad Sha’aban Ahmad Nafa v the Minister of Defense

In 1999 the municipality of Modi’in Illit began building a security services complex on private land belonging to a resident of the Palestinian village Nilin. Modi’in Illit is an ultra-Orthodox Israeli settlement near the city of Modi’in; in 2018 Modi’in Illit was declared a city and is currently the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank

Repeated correspondence and requests were sent over a period of approximately 10 months, following which the State finally admitted that the structures in the facility were built without building permits and announced that demolition and stop work orders were issued against them. However, State representatives added, “additional law enforcement steps are at the discretion of authorized entities, according to the priorities and subject to all the relevant necessary considerations.”

After no steps were taken to enforce the demolition orders, the landowner petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) with the assistance of Yesh Din, demanding the complex structures be removed. The petition noted the fact that this was an exceptional case in which public structures were built on private Palestinian land, and that their construction was completed despite demolition and stop work orders. It also stated that the construction “was undertaken thanks to lack of enforcement. In this case, like all cases of illegal construction by Jews in the West bank, law enforcement authorities fail to exercise their authority… while aware for years of the untenable situation, they all evaded performing their duties and preferred to pretend they did not see.”

The State admitted to the Court that the land in question was private land, however it reiterated that removal and demolition would be undertaken in accordance with its priorities. In July 2014, the Court ordered the removal of all structures in the complex that are not required for emergencies within 60 days. Eventually the entire complex was removed.

Petition Status: The petition was dismissed after the complex structures were demolished and removed. Later on the HCJ ruled NIS 22,500 court expenses in favor of Yesh Din.