(photo credit: Peace Now)
The government will stop construction in the East Mattityahu neighborhood in the haredi settlement of Modi'in Illit, a state's representative announced Wednesday.
In addition, a criminal investigation may be opened against private companies who have built in the area, Army Radio reported.
Contractors are building hundreds of apartments in and around the haredi town of Modi'in Illit without proper permits and in accordance with a town planning scheme which has not yet been approved, attorney Michael Sfard told the High Court of Justice.
Sfard, who is petitioning on behalf of the Peace Now movement, charged that the local council of Modi'in Illit, the West Bank military government and the State Attorney's Office had shut their eyes to the illegal building which they all knew about at one time or another.
According to Sfard, the only planning scheme legally in force for the disputed neighborhood of East Matityahu in Modi'in Illit is called Plan 210/8. It was approved in 1999. The plan called for building 1,500 housing units in East Matityahu. About two years ago, the government decided to change the plan and double the number of units to be built there. In its road system, the new plan also took into consideration that there would eventually be more settlement construction on the nearby Palestinian-owned 600 dunams.
Another 250 units were being built without permits, but these were stopped without any connection to the Peace Now petition.
The building companies involved in the allegedly illegal construction include Green Park Inc., Greenmount Inc. and Hefziba.