(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The state launched a criminal investigation over a year ago into Amana, the largest and oldest organization that develops land over the Green Line, Peace Now revealed on Monday.
Information about the police investigation was given to the left-wing organization Peace Now by the Deputy Attorney General's office only at the end of this month in response to its persistent complaints and inquiries regarding Amana's activities in the construction of the unauthorized outposts.
Peace Now director-general Yariv Oppenheimer said he was pleased to learn of the probe. "We do not think the police have to investigate too much" because Amana's activities are well known, he said.
Even on Monday night, advertisements for homes in the outpost of Amona and calls to move to the undeveloped settlement of Maskiot in the Jordan Valley could be found on the Amana Web site. The government, to date, has prohibited construction in Maskiot, and in January 2006 it destroyed nine empty homes that Amana had constructed at Amona.
Amana is chaired by Ze'ev (Zambish) Hever, who is a member of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
A council spokesman said Amana had no knowledge of the investigation and that neither Amana nor the council had any comment on the matter.
In its letter to Peace Now's lawyer Michael Sfard, Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan said an investigation had been launched in February 2006 into Amana's involvement in illegal construction in the West Bank. It added that information about the probe had been withheld from the public in the initial phases for fear that it would harm the investigation.â€¢