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Israel asks for 3-month demolition delay

April 27, 2012 at 7:19 PM

JERUSALEM, April 27 (UPI) -- A critic of Israel's Netanyahu government said Friday its high court appeal for an extension in demolishing homes in the West Bank is "an announcement of war."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government asked Israel's highest court for a three-month delay in the timetable it established for the destruction of a settlement in the West Bank.

In 2011, the government stated the Beit El homes would be removed by May 1, but the prime minister has asked for the delay for a government committee to assess the policy of destroying settlements built on alleged Palestinian land.

"The evacuation of the buildings could carry social, political and operational ramifications for construction in Beit El and other settlements," a government statement said.

A Justice Ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity said Beit El's situation was unique from others in the West Bank because the settlement had existed since the 1980s, was well-established and of large size with dozens of residents, CNN reported.

CNN said the request, upon which the court will rule Tuesday, has been condemned by the Palestinians and criticized by the European Union and the United States.

Michael Sfard, an attorney for Yesh Din, an Israeli non-governmental organization advocating for Palestinian rights, declared the request "an announcement of war by the Israeli government against the rule of law."

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