Forest trees environment green 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
With a new planning and building bill slated to come to a vote in the Knesset
next week, Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) sent a
letter to the Knesset legal adviser and the Joint Economic- Internal Affairs and
Environment Committee on Tuesday demanding that a complete version of the
legislation be published in a timely manner.
The bill aims to restructure
the process of obtaining approval for building projects across the country,
including consolidating the various approval bodies into one overarching unit to
make the process more efficient.
However, the environmental advocacy
group said that while the Knesset has distributed different parts of the bill
for public review in the past few days, many portions of the legislation have
yet to be finalized. Because the different bits and pieces of the bill are
actually integrated and rely heavily on one another, it is impossible to vote on
the bill until its text is entirely available and all connections between parts
have been made clear, Adam Teva V’Din argued, adding that a reasonable period of
review for the bill in its complete form would be at least 30 working
In its current form, the bill contains portions that refer to
additional clauses that have not yet been made public, the organization’s senior
attorney, Eli Ben-Ari, wrote in the letter.
“It is important to clarify
that this is not just to maintain the rights of Knesset members to perform
correctly and properly the most important role imposed upon them, which is to
take part in the legislative process,” Ben- Ari wrote. “The point is, above all,
to safeguard the right of the general public regarding a law that is expected to
influence significant aspects of life.”
The bill, he argued, will be an
integral part of the country’s fabric for decades to come, and therefore must be
available to both legislators and the public “without shortcuts.”
Henin (Hadash) also expressed his dissatisfaction with the planning bill, and he
wrote a letter to the state comptroller on Tuesday asking that the latter’s
office perform a thorough examination of the bill before it comes to a vote next
During a discussion on Tuesday, Environmental Protection Ministry
representatives said that minister Gilad Erdan was considering bringing the bill
back to the cabinet for review, as there had not been enough time to review the
new version, according to Henin’s office.
The bill, Henin said, is both
“anti-social” and “anti-environmental.”
Eliminating the influence of
public checks and balances, it would allow the Interior Ministry to circumvent
the former planning process and authorize some construction projects with little
accountability, he claimed.
Meanwhile, the Israel Nature and Parks
Authority plenum called on the Knesset to refrain from removing INPA
representatives from the planning committee – a stipulation the newest version
of the bill makes.
According to the INPA, including parks officials in
planning increases the professionalism of project development while safeguarding
environmental and heritage values during construction.
would exclude parks officials from influencing the early stages of planning and
would instead require them to place objections further along, causing
unnecessary delays, the authority argued.
Naor Yerushalmi, executive
director of green umbrella group Life and Environment and a member of the INPA
plenum, contended that it would be impossible to exclude the organization from
the planning process, as it is “required by virtue of the law to protect nature
“The INPA plays a central and decisive role in Israel’s
planning processes, and it must be involved and integrated with them from the
onset,” Yerushalmi said.
“The reform, whose establishment realizes the goal of
fast advancement and efficient planning processes in the state, will cause in
its current form an absurd and backward situation in which the INPA will become
an inhibiting factor when expressing its stance only in the later steps...
instead of influencing the process from the beginning and assisting in its
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