Border police remove an Israeli flag from a condemned building in Netiv Ha'avot.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The cabinet is set on Sunday to order the authorization of the Netiv Ha’avot outpost as a legal neighborhood of the Elazar settlement in the Etzion Bloc.
The cabinet will order Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to push forward the bureaucratic process to complete the authorization as quickly as possible.
Although there is no mention of how many homes will be authorized, settlers told the media that such an authorization would include approval of a master plan for some 350 homes in the outpost.
It will be the second time this month that the government has voted on authorizing an outpost.
Early in February, it voted to legalize the Havat Gilad outpost as a new settlement either at its current site or an adjacent one.
While Sunday’s vote, like the one on Havat Gilad, will take time to execute, the statement of intent that the government is expected to issue constitutes a victory for the 41 Netiv Ha’avot families.
The text of the cabinet decision noted that authorization for the outpost could occur only after completion of a Civil Administration appeal process that is currently under way with regard to the status of the land.
Left-wing NGO Peace Now has appealed the Civil Administration on behalf of the Palestinian village of el-Khader, which claims that the land falls within the jurisdiction of their village. The Civil Administration has declared that a large portion of the outpost is on state land.
Sunday’s cabinet vote comes as the Civil Administration is preparing to execute a High Court of Justice decision to destroy 15 homes in the outpost that are located on land that cannot be authorized because it may belong to el-Khader.
The actions of the cabinet cannot halt the demolition of these 15 homes.
On Wednesday, the state asked the High Court to delay the demolition date by three months, so that it can build modular homes for the families.
The cabinet is also expected to vote on a budget for the proposed temporary homes.
This will include NIS 29 million for infrastructure and NIS 24m. to compensate the families for the homes that will be destroyed.
The Higher Planning Council authorized temporary construction at the site on February 13, but funds have been lacking.
Work has begun to place 15 caravans on an alternative strip of land, known as plot 91, just outside of Netiv Ha’avot, located within the boundaries of the Alon Shvut settlement.
The Netiv Ha’avot outpost was illegally built in 2001 with NIS 300,000 from the Construction Ministry on land that the settlers believed would eventually be authorized.
Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman welcomed the pending vote and thanked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all the ministers who had prioritized the issue.
“We’re hopeful that, out of the shock of the expected destruction, we will embark on a period of construction and growth,” Ne’eman said.
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that the government had “lost all proportion in its drive to appease the settlers. There is no one else in Israel who would get such a compensation package when their home is demolished because it was illegally built on private Palestinian property.”
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