Preventing Home Demolitions
Starting back in 1997, as a cofounder of The Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD), Rabbi Ascherman committed himself to stopping the scourge of administrative home demolitions for the lack of almost impossible to obtain building permits. Realizing that standing in front of bulldozers wasn't going to change the policy, he put together a coalition in 2005 to get to the heart of the issue by petitioning the Israeli High Court to return planning and zoning authority for villages in Area C to Palestinian hands. In 2015, the Court unfortunately accepted a fig leaf "policy change" by the government to consult with Palestinians about master plans for their villages, while maintaining full planning authority. Even this was never actually implemented. However, the Court did order that there must be a three year progress report. Torat Tzedek has several government agencies scrambling to come up with an answer, after we wrote that to the best of our knowledge the government has not produced the Court ordered report, has not carried out its own “policy change,” and has not approved any Palestinian building plans since the Court decision. Because State agencies are refusing to provide information, Torat Tzedek has filed a freedom of information request. We hope to use this as a potential wedge to effect change.