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Israel high court chief criticizes government for violating West Bank building injunction

President Dorit Beinisch [official profile] of the Supreme Court of Israel [official website, in Hebrew] on Wednesday criticized the Israeli government for ignoring an injunction against building an access road on Palestinian lands. The road would connect two West Bank settlements [CSM backgrounder] - Hayovel, a settlement that is illegal under Israeli law, and the legal Eli settlement. Beinisch ordered [Haaretz report] the government to explain why the injunction had been violated within 45 days and to justify the damage done to private property during construction. The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria issued an injunction [JP report] against further construction in April 2009 after lawyers for Yesh Din [advocacy website], an Israeli human rights groups, brought suit alleging that paving the proposed road would cross privately owned lands and cut off the Palestinian village of Karyut from portions of surrounding farmland.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] alleged in a report [JURIST report] that on at least 12 separate occasions, Israeli forces destroyed civilian property [press release], including homes, factories, farms, and greenhouses, without any lawful military purpose during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder]. In March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called [JURIST report] Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank "illegal." The statement came two weeks after Israel announced [Haaretz report] the construction of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], where Palestinians hope to establish the capital of a future state.

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