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PCHR Obtains Temporary Judicial Decision to Stop the Encroachment on Public Utility Lot Leased by Beit Lahia Municipality to Private Project

Ref: 140/2019

On Thursday, 05 December 2019, the Gaza Administrative Court issued a temporary decision with regard to the complaint filed by PCHR yesterday, 04 December, to force the Beit Lahia Municipality to stop the encroachments on a public utility lot in favor of a private project.  The temporary decision stipulates that “the defendants should stop the construction works on Land No. (34) of Plot No. (1768) in Qleibo area in Beit Lahia until the court hearing designated for the complaint is held on Thursday, 12 December 2019, and the defendants are duly notified.”

It should be noted that PCHR submitted an urgent request on 04 December 2019 to the Administrative Court in Gaza to issue a decision to halt the Beit Lahia Municipality’s encroachments on a public utility until the court settles the first complaint submitted by PCHR to abolish a decision issued by Beit Lahia Municipality to lease a public utility lot (Green area) to others; end all the legal ramifications; and restore it as a public utility.  On 24 November, PCHR, as the legal representative of the plaintiffs, filed a complaint to the Beit Lahia Municipality to abolish its decision to privatize a public utility and to be used as a plant nursery.  The next day, 25 November 2019, PCHR submitted a similar complaint to the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Local Government against Bait Lahia Municipality. To this date, PCHR has not received a written response from either party on the complaints it submitted.

PCHR’s urgent request came after a number of Palestinian citizens, including the leaseholder, accompanied by a police force, installed construction tools at the land lot in concern on Tuesday, 03 December 2019, but were confronted by community residents who stopped them from proceeding with the construction works. At the time, the present police force requested backups, violently attacked the gathering, and arrested a few of them and forced them to sign a pledge to delete all relevant videos published or not published on social media websites to the issue.

It should be noted that the lot in concern is 1200 square meters and is intended for public benefit as inscribed in the Local Governance Ministry’s organizational and structure maps.  It is also located in the center of a densely-populated neighborhood of 80 houses that shelter 80 families of 600 persons and is the only green area intended to provide recreation for the local community.

PCHR welcomes the temporary judicial decision and will continue its efforts to issue a final decision in order to abolish the Beit Lahia Municipality’s decision and guarantee the local community’s rights and interest.