The Non-Existent Court Decision on Bustan Demolitions
On May 11, it was widely reported in the Israeli and international press that the Jerusalem District Court had ruled that the demolition of 22 Palestinian homes in the Bustan area of Silwan, East Jerusalem, had been stayed, pending the completion of the statutory planning process by the Jerusalem Municipality. (for the reports, click here, here and here). These reports are incorrect.
Firstly, the court hearing dealt with seven, not 22, homes, in appeals filed by the Jerusalem Municipality (relating to five homes the demolition orders of which and been stayed by a lower court) and appeals filed by Palestinian residents (in relation to houses where the lower court had not stayed the demolition orders).
More importantly, no judicial decision was handed down. Indeed, during the course of the proceedings, the judge indicated that a stay of one year seemed appropriate, so that the planning process could be exhausted, but no decision was made in this regard. The court recommended to the parties that they conduct negotiations towards arriving at an agreement regarding the suspension of the demolitions for an agreed period of time, and scheduled a new hearing date for May 24. Should the parties fail to arrive at any agreement by that date, a court ruling is likely (but not certain), and the court is not bound in its future decision by the statements made in the May 11 hearing.