Cabinet to approve relocation funding for settler families

“There are still families that have no place to go.”

February 22, 2018 03:17
2 minute read.
Jerusalem demonstration PMO's office against the demolition of 15 homes in the Netiv Haavot

Jerusalem demonstration outside the PMO's office, against the demolition of 15 homes in the Netiv Haavot.. (photo credit: CAMPAIGN TO SAVE NETIV HAAVOT.)

The cabinet is set to vote Sunday on funds to relocate 15 families from the Netiv Ha’avot outpost, whose stone homes are set to be destroyed on March 6.

On Wednesday the state asked the High Court of Justice to delay the demolition date by three months, so that it can build modular homes for the families.

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The families in the outpost of some 41 homes hit the streets to protest the absence of a relocation plan already last summer.

As they look out the windows of their homes, they can see Civil Administration officials wandering around with maps. Bulldozers are constructing a temporary dirt road for the cranes to access the site directly from Route 60 in the Etzion Bloc.

On the other side of the outpost, work has barely begun to place 15 caravans on an alternative strip of land, known as plot 91. The Higher Planning Council authorized temporary construction at the site only on February 13, but funds have been lacking.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to work on a budget of approximately NIS 50 million for the project.

To highlight their plight, the outpost residents, their neighbors in the Elazar settlement where they are located and the Etzion Regional Council set up a protest tent on Monday and Tuesday of this week outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Stop the absurdity,” stated one sign that hung from the tent.

As he sat in the tent outpost, resident Elazar Hertz Van Spiegel, a father of four, speculated that should his home be torn down in a few weeks, he should bring a mattress and sleep on the sidewalk.

Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Neeman said news of Sunday’s vote and the state’s request for a delay made him only “cautiously optimistic.”

“There are still families that have no place to go,” he said.

The Netiv Ha’avot outpost was illegally built in 2001, on land that the settlers believed would eventually be authorized.

A 2014 land survey found that 15 of the homes were on survey land, which cannot be legalized because the ownership of land is unclear and it could be considered private Palestinian property.

In response to a Peace Now petition, the High Court of Justice has ruled that these 15 must be relocated, even though in some cases there are homes in which only a small section of the structure is built on survey land.

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