Ruling comes in response to petition submitted by Yesh Din on behalf of residents of the Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud against building the plant on their land.
By Zafrir Rinat

The High Court of Justice yesterday forbade operating a sewage treatment plant built illegally on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank settlement of Ofra.

The ruling came in response to a petition submitted by Yesh Din on behalf of residents of the Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud against building the plant on their land.
Sewage purification plant in Ofra

The sewage purification plant in Ofra.
Photo by: Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

The state admitted to numerous failures in the procedures of setting up the plant, which had indeed been built without the required permits on private land.

However, the state said the region’s sewage problems had to be addressed. For this reason the authorities formulated a proposal to confiscate the land for public need, to permit operating the plant, which would also serve the area’s Palestinian villages, the state said.

The justices ruled it may not be operated and ordered the state and the Binyamin Regional Council to pay the petitioners’ legal expenses.

“An apparently serious criminal affair unfolded in court, in which the government authorities stole, in violation of the law, private Palestinian land and built on it,” said Yesh Din legal adviser Michael Sfard. He said the plant was built “with a fictitious building permit, with the investment of millions of shekels.”

Apparently the Ofra sewage plant may not be the only one built illegally on private Palestinian land. Left-wing activist Dror Etkes, who took part in gathering the information on the Ofra plant, found that Elkana requested upgrading a sewage plant located on Palestinian land before the procedure of confiscating that land had been completed.

The authorities are now in process of amending and adjusting the procedure so the settlement may operate the plant.

‘Ofra sewage plant can’t be used until land dispute solved’ – Jerusalem Post

07/28/2011 03:38

High Court judges say NIS 7.8m state-funded sewage facility built illegally on private Palestinian land in Ofra settlement.
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High Court judges issued an injunction Wednesday prohibiting the West Bank settlement of Ofra from using a sewage-treatment plant constructed in the area.

The High Court hearing was in response to a petition filed by human rights group Yesh Din, on behalf of residents of the Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud.

According to the petitioners, the whole of Ofra – a 3,000- strong settlement in the Northern West Bank, about 25 kilometers from Jerusalem – is built illegally on land belonging to the Palestinian villages of Silwad and Ein Yabrud.

However, their petition relates only to a sewage-treatment plant that they claim was built on private land in Ein Yabrud.

Petitioners said that the statefunded NIS 7.8 million, 37- dunam sewage facility – 4 dunams above ground and 33 below – was built illegally on their land. Even though it was illegal, the the sewage-purification plant was largely paid for by the National Infrastructures Ministry.

The legal dispute over Ofra’s sewage plant has raged for years. Ein Yabrud residents petitioned the High Court over the matter in 2009, a year after the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria issued a final stopwork order and an order to demolish the facility.

Yet the state found no other solution to treating Ofra’s sewage.

In its reply to the High Court, the state responded that it was considering connecting the village to the plant in Ofra, since Ein Yabrud also does not have an adequate sewage system. Ein Yabrud villagers refused the offer.

In Wednesday’s hearing, State Attorney Roi-Avihai Shvika admitted that there had been a problem in using government funding for a building that had been constructed illegally.

Shvika told the court that if judges ruled to demolish the facility, another solution would have to be found for dealing with Ofra’s sewage.

Attorney Michael Sfard of Yesh Din, who is representing the petitioners, asked the court to impose a deadline on the state to come up with a solution.

“The petitioners are excluded from their land,” said Sfard.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch issued an injunction ruling that the building cannot be used or expanded until the current dispute is solved.

The ruling prohibits the sewage plant’s operation – including its connection to the electricity grid – until such time as a legal solution is found to the facility.

If the authorities do not manage to rectify the legal situation of the sewage facility within the next few months, it will have to be demolished.

According to Sfard, to solve the legal issues over the use of the land, the state will need to reach an agreement to lease the land from the local Palestinian villagers. The state will then need to negotiate a further agreement with the Palestinian- Israeli Joint Water Committee.

Following that, the state will have to obtain the requisite planning and construction permits from local and government committees.

According to Sfard, there is very little chance of this happening.

High court bans settlers’ sewage facility – YNET

Sewage treatment facility near Ofra settlement built illegally, cannot be used, judges say

Aviad Glickman
Published: 07.27.11, 21:52 / Israel News

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The High Court ruled Wednesday that a sewage treatment facility near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, northeast of Ramallah, was built illegally and therefore cannot be used.

The court criticized the State for granting the facility a building permit and ordered the Binyamin Regional Council to pay for the petitioners’ court expenses. The petition was filed by the Yesh Din Human Rights group on behalf of residents of the Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud.

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The attorneys representing the Palestinian community had requested in their petition to stop all facility services and funding and to instruct the Civil Administration and Judea and Samaria district police to enforce the demolition orders.

Sewage treatment facility (Photo: Yesh Din Organization)

The justices ruled that the sewage treatment facility shall not be operated nor should construction efforts continue until a legal solution is found. They also ordered the State and Binyamin Regional Council to pay NIS 20,000 (approx. $5,900) for the petitioners’ court expenses.


“The court has been exposed to a serious and apparently criminal case, in which authorities stole private Palestinian land and built a facility worth millions in an illegal manner using a fictitious building permit,” said attorney Michael Sfard.,7340,L-4101108,00.html