Court and planning authority raise “serious issues of rights and justice” and “problems” with plans for Jewish town of Hiran


HAIFA – On 6 September 2012 the District Court of Bir el-Sabe (Beer Sheva) held a session to hear arguments in Adalah’s appeal against the Kiyat Gat Magistrates’ Court’s decision to uphold 33 demolition orders on homes in the unrecognized Arab Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran. Judge Ariel Harzak, presiding over the court, said that the plan raises “serious issues of rights and justice” in response to the attorneys’ arguments.

While the State Attorney claimed that the issue was one of unlicensed building that contradicted regulations under the Planning and Building Law, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara explained that the village was set to be demolished to make way for a Jewish town named ‘Hiran.’ The judge ordered the state to provide written arguments to demonstrate the necessity of demolishing the village, and scheduled a hearing on the case for mid-December. He noted that Adalah had also filed an appeal against eviction orders against the village’s residents.
The Magistrates’ Court in Kiryat Gat approved the demolition orders against Umm el-Hieran on 11 December 2011, paving the way for the forcible eviction of 1,000 residents and the demolition of their homes in order to build a Jewish-designated city named Hiran on the village’s ruins. The court also suspended the implementation of the resolution for one year in order to allow the families to negotiate alternative housing solutions with the state, after rejecting Adalah’s motion to cancel the demolition orders in 2007.
In a related matter, on 11 September 2012 the National Council of Planning and Building (NCPB) heard Adalah and Bimkom’s objections to Organizational Chart 107/02/15, which lays out detailed plans for the town of Hiran. Adalah Attorneys Suhad Bishara and Aram Mahameed, Bimkom urban planner Cesar Yehudkin and residents of the village attended the hearing along with delegates from the “Ur” Association, which is preparing to settle Hiran.
Attorney Bishara emphasized at that hearing that the planned map and structure for Hiran disregarded the homes of Arab Bedouin, who have lived in the village for 60 years. The NCPB representatives said that there were no regulations in the plan designating Hiran as a Jewish town, and that homes would be open to all. In response, Attorney Bishara alerted the representatives to the fact that only one week earlier, in a hearing at the Magistrate’s Court on the demolition orders, the prosecutors representing the planning authorities had stated that the town would be established as a Jewish municipality. The chairperson of the session stated that if the town was indeed established with a Jewish municipality, then the council would view the matter as seriously problematic.

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