Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked approved the transfer of private lands of Druze Israelis to the jurisdiction of Daliat al-Carmel and Usfiya in order to better develop the lands and provide proper municipal services to the residents, the Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday.
Of the lands in question, 329 hectares (812 acres) will be allocated to the Daliat al-Carmel Local Council and 389 hectares (961 acres) will be allocated to the Usfiya Local Council.
Shaked's decision was made in coordination with representatives from the Interior Ministry and officials in Daliat al-Carmel and Usfiya.
Government's rationale for the decision
The move was based on the recommendations of the Haifa Geographical Committee, which discussed the matter as part of talks regarding the boundaries between the Daliat al-Carmel Local Council and the Usfiya Local Council and the non-judicial area near Mount Carmel, the ministry said.
The ministry added that members of the Haifa Geographical Committee conducted tours in the region and observed the daily functions of the non-municipal areas and that some of these areas are used for agriculture as well as illegal construction. The ministry said that the committee wanted to centralize power in order to "improve the level of services provided to residents, in addition to making historical agreements between the local authorities and the Nature and Parks Authority."
"The allocation of thousands of dunams to the authorities' areas will help financially and improve the quality of life of the residents while meeting the housing, transportation and employment needs in the locality."Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked
"After much deliberation, I made the right decision to transfer private lands of Druze residents to the jurisdiction of Daliat al-Carmel and Usfiya to enable the development of the settlements," Shaked said.
"Enforcement and supervision regarding activities in these areas is the responsibility of the local authority and the national enforcement unit and I believe that the authorities will carry out their duties to the best of their ability," she added.
"The allocation of thousands of dunams to the authorities' areas will help improve the quality of life of the residents while meeting the housing, transportation and employment needs in the local communities"
"I believe that this decision will strengthen the deep connection between the Druze communities and the State of Israel," Shaked explained.
"The State of Israel has a duty to solve the housing problem in the Druze communities. We must ensure that the members of the community can build and plan in the Druze settlements and do not become forced construction offenders, we are brothers and I very much hope that this step will help explain to young Druze people that they are a part of the State of Israel."