An Israeli court on Monday ordered a construction project to extend the construction zone in the occupied West Bank, rejecting an appeal from Palestinian residents who said the construction would endanger their rights to return to their homes.
The court ordered the construction project, which has been suspended since November, to move forward despite objections from residents, who filed an appeal at the High Court in Jerusalem.
It did not specify the type of the land it wanted to extend.
The decision was announced by a court spokesperson, who said there was no immediate comment from the court.
An Israeli official said on Monday that the ruling could be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Palestinians, whose West Bank towns and villages were occupied by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war, had appealed the ruling to the International Court of Justice, the body that handles disputes over sovereignty over parts of the occupied territory.
The Jerusalem District Court issued a statement late on Monday saying the court did not have the authority to impose a ban on the construction, which it had previously ordered to cease.
“The court is unable to determine the conditions under which the illegal construction will be allowed to continue,” the statement said.
Israel’s foreign ministry said it would continue to abide by international law.
It said the court had not addressed the validity of Israeli law, adding that it had taken all necessary measures to ensure that the project would not violate any laws or regulations.
“This construction, however, would not be permitted in the territory it is in.
It will be demolished after a thorough inspection,” the ministry said in a statement.
Israeli law requires that land be approved for new settlements before it can be granted permission to expand.
The Palestinian Authority, which administers the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, rejected the Israeli government’s request to extend construction in the disputed territories.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in October that he planned to hold a vote on the issue in the upcoming Palestinian Legislative Council session.
Israel has long said it wants to avoid creating a Palestinian state in the West Banks.
However, its annexation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, which ended with an armistice, and the creation of a demilitarised buffer zone in 1967, in the Golan Heights, has raised tensions between the Jewish and Arab communities.
The latest Israeli court ruling on Monday comes two weeks after the Palestinian government issued a request to the international community for the return of some 300 Palestinian settlers who were captured by Israeli troops in an incursion into the occupied territories in July.
The ruling is not the first time the court has rejected an appeal by Palestinians seeking to stop a major construction project.
In January, the court refused to let a Palestinian developer resume construction in Beit El, the West bank city where the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim is located.