PALESTINIAN builds a home in Ma’aleh Adumim 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci )
An investigatory unit to enforce criminal law against those involved in illegal
West Bank construction activity for settler homes should be created within the
IDF Civil Administration, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein said on
He appealed to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to create such a
unit in order to help enforce building laws for settlers’ homes in the West Bank.
There is almost no criminal enforcement of planning and building
offenses, mainly due to the absence of an investigatory body, Weinstein
Illegal West Bank building is an important issue, and criminal
enforcement could play an important role in stopping such actions, Weinstein
He had made a similar request of former defense minister Ehud
Barak, who did nothing on the matter, Weinstein said.
said they believed that the unit would be part of an new expanded legal
apparatus that would have the ability to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate
criminal building violations.
Attorney Michael Sfard – who often
petitions the court against illegal settler construction on behalf of
non-governmental groups such as Peace Now – said that the Civil Administration
had a mechanism that allowed it to criminally investigate and sue Palestinians
for illegal building, but not Israelis.
The lack of criminal enforcement
for illegal Israeli building in the West Bank, he said, was highlighted by some
of the cases Peace Now had filed before the High Court of justice.
demanded a criminal investigation,” he said, noting that there was no procedure
by which to execute that demand.
Yigal Delmonti – a spokesman for the
Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria – said that Weinstein’s
letter falsely portrayed settlers as law breakers.
“Judea and Samaria is
not the Wild West,” he said.
This is not a simple matter of law breaking,
The permit process for construction in Judea and Samaria
badly needs to be reformed, he said. But the government has not done so because
construction has been held hostage to diplomatic concerns, he said.
urged the government instead to authorize the report by Justice Edmund Levy,
which he said laid out a procedure for replacing outdated Ottoman laws with a
process for legalizing unauthorized Jewish building.