Barak blocks settlement home demolition

Barak blocks settlement home demolition

JERUSALEM — Ehud Barak has blocked the demolition of Israeli homes built on Palestinian land in a West Bank settlement.

The Israeli defense minister informed Israel’s Supreme Court Sunday that he had issued the order to freeze the demolition, and also said the homes would continue to receive water, electricity and sewage services.

The order is in response to a petition submitted to the high court last summer in which five Palestinian residents of a nearby village asked the court to remove the homes’ occupants.

Barak said Sunday that a comprehensive policy must be made for the whole community, since the homes in question are in the center of the settlement and the issues raised are relevant to other Ofra homes.

The human rights group B’Tselem reported last December that 58 percent of Ofra was built on private Palestinian land. Ofra officials say the land was purchased from its Palestinian owners, Ha’aretz reported.