Peace Now and Jordan Valley Activists Filed a Petition for the Eviction of Moshe Sharvit’s Outpost Amid International Sanctions

Peace Now and Jordan Valley Activists File Petition with Supreme Court to Enforce Demolition Orders on Illegal Outpost “Moshe’s Farm”

Peace Now, along with Jordan Valley Activists, filed a petition with the Supreme Court yesterday (22.05.2024), demanding that the state enforce demolition orders issued against the structures in the illegal outpost known as “Moshe’s Farm,” also referred to as “Emek Tirzah Farm.” Since its establishment, the outpost has been a hub of violence and daily harassment against Palestinian shepherd communities. Some families were even forced to flee their homes due to threats and harassment from the outpost’s residents. Recently, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have imposed sanctions on the farm and its founder, Moshe Sharvit.

The court has given the state 45 days to respond to the petition.

Peace Now: “Settler violence in these agricultural outposts is not a bug, it’s a feature. The government supports these outposts, nurtures them and allows them to seize land and expel Palestinian residents from the entire area. The government does nothing to stop these crimes, and it’s time for the court to compel it to enforce the law.”

In late 2020, Moshe Sharvit established an agricultural farm in the Jordan Valley, approximately 1.5 kilometers southeast of the Hamra settlement. By 2021, when the farm had only a few buildings, the Civil Administration issued demolition orders for all the structures, which were built illegally without permits or approved building plans. Despite the demolition orders, the farm continued to expand. Today, in addition to a flock of sheep and several residential buildings, the farm includes a guest lodge for travelers and an event complex. According to the farm’s website, the lodge can accommodate up to 100 people and features air-conditioned tents, restrooms, showers, a fully equipped kitchen, a pool, and a suite built inside a truck—all without permits and in violation of the law.

Emek Tirzah Farm (Moshe’s Farm), 2024

Since the farm was established, the lives of the surrounding Palestinian shepherd communities have become unbearable, to the point that some have been forced to flee their homes. Moshe Sharvit and other young people from the farm go out daily to drive away Palestinian herds and prevent them from reaching grazing areas. The Jordan Valley Activists group, a group of Israeli volunteers who invest their time and energy in trying to assist and protect the Palestinian shepherd communities in the Jordan Valley, began accompanying the shepherd communities near Sharvit’s farm immediately after the farm was established. They go to the grazing areas with the Palestinian shepherds, document the harassment and attacks, try to prevent harm to the Palestinians and reach out to the police. The Jordan Valley activists have accumulated testimonies and videos of dozens, if not hundreds, of incidents of harassment and violence by the farm residents, for which dozens of complaints have been filed with the police.

Moshe Sharvit on an ATV, driving away a Palestinian herd, May 2022:

Against the backdrop of daily violence, harassment, attacks, and threats that have led to the expulsion of several Palestinian families from the area, the American administration decided to impose sanctions on Moshe Sharvit and his farm. Similar sanctions have also been imposed by Britain and Canada. The U.S. State Department’s statement said:

“MOSHE SHARVIT (SHARVIT) repeatedly harassed, threatened, and attacked Palestinian civilians and Israeli human rights defenders in the vicinity of MOSHES FARM, an outpost in the West Bank. In October 2023, SHARVIT issued a threat against the residents of the Palestinian village of Ein Shibli, and while armed, ordered them to leave their homes; this threat resulted in up to 100 Palestinian civilians fleeing their village in fear for their lives.

MOSHES FARM is owned and was founded by SHARVIT in 2021. SHARVIT uses the outpost as a base from which he perpetrates violence against Palestinians.”

Moshe’s Farm with Demolition Orders, 2022

Lack of Enforcement 

The illegal outpost “Emek Tirzah Farm” was established in late 2020. The Civil Administration, responsible for enforcing planning and building laws in Area C, issued demolition orders in 2021 for all the buildings that were on the farm at that time but did not implement them, and the farm continued to grow. Jordan Valley activists addressed this issue with the Civil Administration, and in a response they received from the office of the head of the Civil Administration on January 11, 2022, it was stated:

“… After investigation with the relevant authorities, it appears that the Civil Administration did not approve the work being carried out at the site. Accordingly, enforcement actions were taken at the site, including the issuance of stop-work orders. … The Civil Administration authorities … carry out supervision and enforcement activities … throughout Judea and Samaria diligently, according to the priorities that have been defined.”

The priorities as expressed on the ground are that the IDF carries out numerous demolitions of Palestinian structures while rarely demolishing illegal settler construction. Recently, the New York Times exposed a secret document dated March 21, 2024, in which Central Command Chief Yehuda Fuchs sharply criticized the government for preventing any demolition of illegal settler construction by order of the Settlement Division, which was established by the government within the Civil Administration and is subordinate to Minister Smotrich:

“According to data from the Civil Administration for 2023, there has been an increase in the number of illegal structures erected by Israelis throughout the West Bank, in addition to a significant number of land invasions… Concurrently, during this period, enforcement against illegal Israeli construction has been reduced to the point of disappearing. Since March 2023, an approved enforcement plan requires the approval of the Settlement Division. Since then, and especially in the last quarter, the division has avoided approving enforcement procedures against illegal Israeli construction. At the same time, the division consistently approves the full enforcement plan against illegal Palestinian construction.”

According to the official priorities for demolishing illegal structures, as recently presented to the court, structures that pose a threat to regional security and/or public safety and/or public order, or demolition orders for buildings used for activities that cause such danger, are high on the enforcement priority list.

Against the backdrop of extensive violence emanating from Moshe’s farm and the absence of any enforcement by law enforcement authorities, Peace Now and the Jordan Valley activists have filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice demanding that the state enforce the law and evacuate the outpost.

To read the petition text (in Hebrew), click here.

Testimonies from members of the Al-Shatiyah family about the attacks and threats that forced them and their family to flee their homes, located near where Moshe’s farm was established: