Plan to okay 1,048 homes on private Palestinian land frozen

The High Court has persistently upheld the state’s position in the past that constructions on private Palestinian property must be removed.

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August 25, 2017 01:57
2 minute read.
Plan to okay 1,048 homes on private Palestinian land frozen

BUILDINGS UNDER CONSTRUCTION as seen in Modi’in Illit, northwest of Jerusalem, in March. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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A Civil Administration plan that could authorize 1,048 settler homes built on private Palestinian property has been frozen for three years awaiting a response from the Justice Ministry.

A note to that effect was tacked at the bottom of a Civil Administration report, published this week as an annex to the 159-page governmental response to the High Court of Justice petition regarding the Settlements Regulation Law.

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The High Court has persistently upheld the state’s position in the past that constructions on private Palestinian property must be removed.

These homes, however, were initially thought to be on state land and were part of approved projects for West Bank settlements.

The Civil Administration has been in the midst of a land survey effort with advanced technology to correct errors made in past studies, differentiating between state land and private Palestinian property.

As part of those surveys, it discovered that an issue existed with 1,048 structures in West Bank settlements.

Some 303 of those structures are in the West Bank’s largest Jewish city of Modi’in Illit, which is home to more than 60,000 people.

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In total, the Civil Administration has studied 294 locations in the West Bank, completing the mapping of 254 places and working on an additional 40.

A Justice Ministry representative said in response that the plan was drawn up before the time that Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit took office in 2016.

The plan has since been submitted to the Justice Ministry and the staff that works on the regulation of settlement homes. “We’re awaiting an opinion,” the representative said.

The rest of the Civil Administration document provided a rare glimpse into the IDF’s database on unauthorized settler construction on private Palestinian property.

Peace Now has estimated that there are some 4,000 such homes.

The Civil Administration placed the number at 3,455 and included public institutions such as schools and synagogues.

Out of those 45%, 1,576 structures, are built on private Palestinian property with registered owners.

Until 1998, the document stated, there was no policy of enforcement against illegal settler building.

Before that time, 1,122 buildings on private Palestinian property were built in eight settlements.

The community with the largest number of such structures was Ofra, with 480 buildings. The other seven settlements with private Palestinian construction were Beit El with 193 structures, Eilon Moreh with 146, Eli with 89, Ma’aleh Michmash with 70, Psagot with 58, Shavei Shomron with 46 and Hermesh with 40.

No enforcement action has been taken against these home.

Additionally, there are 1,285 structures built in the last 20 years on private Palestinian property outside of the boundaries of the settlements, out of which 874 are in outposts and the remaining 411 are near the settlements.

Some 543 of these structures are on private Palestinian property with known owners.

According to the Civil Administration, 536 homes on private Palestinian property were built in after the year 2006, and 749 were built in the 12 years before that.

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