Migron Demolition 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A number of Likud ministers wants to block any future plans the IDF might have to demolish illegal settlement and outpost construction on private Palestinian property in the West Bank.
In the aftermath of the demolition of three unauthorized homes in the Migron outpost in September, politicians are particularly concerned about a number of High Court of Justice decisions and state responses to the court regarding pending settler housing demolitions in the next halfyear.
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At the Likud ministerial committee meeting on Sunday, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat proposed the creation of a committee of independent, professional experts to examine alternative options that would avoid demolitions and allow for the authorization of such homes.
“Our job is not to be bulldozers and to destroy,” she said.
Livnat said she had calculated that possibly as many as 160 homes could be removed, and that this was unacceptable.
The families that live there are law-abiding, she said.
“It can’t be that the homes of some 1,000 people will be destroyed and that they will find themselves without a roof over their heads,” Livnat added.
In particular, Livnat focused on the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El, which she said was created 15 years ago with initial government support and grants. But the two other high risk places are the Migron and Givat Assaf outposts.
Livnat said that it was not clear that land which was designated by the state as private Palestinian property truly deserved that designation and that this needed to be checked by a committee of experts.
In some cases, no one has claimed the land and in other cases, ownership cannot be documented, she said. In cases where Palestinian ownership has been proved, it is possible to grant compensation rather than returning the property, she said.
Since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office in 2009, the state has spoken of authorizing illegal construction on state land, but has firmly stated that it intends to demolish Jewish buildings on private Palestinian property.
Still, according to Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who supported Livnat’s proposition, the prime minister appeared receptive to her words.
According to Livnat’s office, government secretary Tzvi Hauser has been tasked with exploring the issue.
But MK Yariv Levin (Likud) is not waiting for the government.
He is already working on a bill that would offer an alternative to home demolitions on private Palestinian land by offering compensation to the owners instead.