Shiloh settlement in West Bank 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Thursday ordered the police to open a
criminal investigation into illegal building in the West Bank Shiloh
Notification of the investigation was given to the High Court
of Justice, which in November asked the state to decide if it planned to hold
such a investigation.
“This is a very unusual and important decision,”
said attorney Michael Sfard, who filed a petition to the High Court in 2011
against illegal construction in Shiloh on behalf of Peace Now.
Ofran of Peace Now said she recalled only one similar investigation, which was
against Amanah, the building arm of the settlement movement. It was dropped for
lack of evidence, she said.
“I hope that this time it will be proven that
criminal activity occurred in the West Bank with respect to building,” she
Such a judgment could prevent this illegal activity in the future,
Already in November, the state informed the court that it was
working on zoning plans, which would retroactively legalize the Shiloh building.
Last month the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria advanced those zoning
plans. It is expected that the administration will approve them in the coming
Still, the police will now hold a criminal investigation into the
actions that led to the unauthorized building in Shiloh, which the civil
administration is in the process of legalizing. It is unclear who the police
Attorney Akiva Sylvetzky of Jerusalem, who represents
Shiloh and its regional governing body, the Binyamin Regional Council, said the
investigation was purely technical and designed to close the door on any
allegations of illegality. To do this, he said, the police must first study the
“It would be irrational for the state to press charges for
illegal building when that building is being legalized,” he said.
state has already said it intends to authorize the homes, he said. Plans to do
so are in an advanced stage, Sylvetzky added.
He plans to ask the court
to close the case and acquit his clients of any wrongdoing.
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