GIVAT ALIYA BEACH in Jaffa is seen from the balcony of the Peres Center for Peace.
(photo credit: DANNY SAVILLE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The cabinet is now considering legislation that could change the Israeli coastline as we know it, yet legal means may put a brake on some of it.
Environmental NGO Adam Teva V’Din – the Israel Union for Environmental Defense – submitted a petition to the High Court on Wednesday to stop a controversial section of Master Plan (TAMA) 1 that would allow increased beachside construction.
The main fear is that the plan would override the Coastal Protection Law, known as TAMA- 13. According to the NGO, it would allow construction in 2,000 hectares of coastal property that is currently protected from construction.
Furthermore, while construction would still be forbidden 100 meters from the waterline, TAMA-1 would allow kiosks and recreational structures to be built up to 30 meters from the sea.
Eli Ben-Ari, an attorney for Adam Teva V’Din who wrote the petition, said that TAMA-1 would “drastically change” the Coastline Protection Law.
The petition also included a point made in a 2014 petition to the court, which pointed out conflicts of interests. The petition states that out of the 19 “agricultural communities” where construction would be allowed under TAMA-1, five are “customers” of Planning Administration director Binat Schwartz’s husband.
At the moment, another coastal worry comes from the impending vote on a section of TAMA-35, nicknamed “Levin’s Law.” It would categorize hotels as a form of “national infrastructure” and simplify hotel construction permits by transferring approval to the Finance Ministry’s National Planning and Building Committee instead of the finance minister.
Amit Bracha, director of Adam Teva V’Din, criticized the “draconian legislation” that has been promoted lately, referring expressly to Levin’s Law. He said that “despite the verbal abuse our representatives have to take,” they will continue to do what they can “to protect the beaches for us and for generations to come.”