In the wake of the demolition of the Draynoff Houses in Beit El, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has a suggestion: Establish a special court to deal with housing disputes in Judea and Samaria, as opposed to giving the High Court sole jurisdiction over the matter.
“The system is broken,” Shaked said on Thursday. “The High Court does not accept evidence and arguments in these cases. Two lawyers for leftist group Yesh Din are able to set the agenda for the High Court, and turn it into a leftist agenda.”
With that, Shaked added, she had great respect for the Court, and that many of its decisions were “groundbreaking” in a very positive way. Nevertheless, she said, the High Court, which rules on matters of state, civil rights, constitutionality, and other matters is no place for petty disputes about whose deed of sale or contract was the more accurate one. “In Ra'anana, they send cases like these to the local civil court, not the High Court,” said Shaked. “Judea and Samaria should not be any different.”
The reason it is different, however, is because the ultimate authority in the region is not the Knesset, but the IDF and the military government, which is not empowered to rule on matters of land ownership. Thus, all cases in which Palestinians dispute the ownership of land that Jews seek to build on – and vice versa – end up in the High Court, which is the court of last resort for everyone.
Shaked proposes setting up a special court which will be empowered to rule on land disputes in Judea and Samaria, relieving the High Court of the burden, and allowing judges to focus on the specifics of cases, instead of the “greater issues” and matters of state, such as the extent to which Israel should allow Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, she said.
“Such cases must be heard in terms of their specifics, with witnesses and evidence relating specifically to the issue of rights and ownership,” Shaked said. “We will work to set up such a court system.” According to Shaked, the idea was not actually her own, but that of former High Court Justice Edmond Levy, who had written about the matter years ago.