Settlers at a protest rally on the ruins of the Sa-Nur settlement in Samaria.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
A day after announcing new elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked to advance and approve 2010 new settler homes.
Separately he has fast-tracked the retroactive authorization of illegally built settler homes on private Palestinian property.
The perception that he is strong on support for Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria is critical to his ability to woo right-wing voters.
On Tuesday the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria held the first of a two-day meeting on settler construction.
At the end of the day, the council had approved and advanced close to 1,300 homes and the remainder are expected to be green-lighted tomorrow.
The Prime Minister’s Office has also set up a special committee to examine such cases with an eye to legalizing them, based on the criteria of “good faith,” which is used to authorize such a construction within Israel, the state has informed the High Court of Justice.
The PMO has set up a special committee to examine such cases with an eye to legalizing them based on the criteria of “good faith” that is used to authorize such as construction within Israel.
Netanyahu is expected to meet on Wednesday with settlers leaders, to discuss among other things, ways to advanced building.
Netanyahu pledged to take such action to authorize the homes in the aftermath of the Ofra and Givat Asaf attacks.
He stated that, “I have directed that the status of thousands of homes in settlements in Judea and Samaria be legalized.”
At the time it was presumed that little could come from the statement because the issue of retroactively authorizing illegal settler homes had been frozen.
Before the creation of the committee, any action on the matter was depending on the High Court of Justice, which is adjudicating the legality of the Settlement Regulation Law that would authorize some 4,000 such structures, while offering to compensate the Palestinian land owners.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has opposed the Settlement Regulation Law, but last week he said that Israeli market regulations could apply to illegal settler structures on private Palestinian property in certain instances.
His opinion was provided to the High Court of Justice, as was the PMO decision to create a committee to act on the issue.
Mandelblit has suggested that special courts should be created to address the land issues in Judea and Samaria, such as those relating to private Palestinian property.
It’s presumed that structures most likely to fit that definition are those believed to have initially been built on state land or survey land.
It was determined that they were constructed on private Palestinian property only after a Civil Administration survey provided new information that led to a reclassification of the land.
Netanyahu’s committee will now examine how many structures can be legalized under Mandelblit’s new ruling. It’s likely that at least half the homes could fit that definition.
Three of the NGO’s who petitioned the HCJ against the Settlement Regulation Law warned that Netanyahu was skirting the courts by moving forward on the matter with Mandelblit’s support.