Settler council spending on West Bank housing needs court approval

The High Court of Justice has waited since mid-September for a delayed response from the settler councils and Amana on the matter.

A TRUCK passes a small Israeli community in the West Bank (photo credit: REUTERS)
A TRUCK passes a small Israeli community in the West Bank
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice must approve spending by settler regional and local councils on the construction of West Bank Jewish homes, through its primary construction organ named Amana.
It issued a declaration on this matter in response to a petition by the Left-wing group Peace Now, which has sought to obtain an injunction against such spending since August.
The High Court of Justice has waited since mid-September for a delayed response from the settler councils and Amana on the matter.
On Monday it gave the defendants in the case until January 29th to respond. It added that councils must inform the court seven days in advance prior to transferring funds to Amana, so that the court could weigh issuing an injunction against the transfer.
Peace Now had petitioned the court already in February to order the council’s stop funding Amana, claiming that such financial support was against Israeli funding laws. In addition, it warned, funds from the council had been used to support illegal building in outposts.
“The transfer of funds to Amana from local authorities is illegal, contrary to, and in violation of, the Ministry of the Interior’s procedures that regulate the transfer of public funds to non-public bodies, and thus the transfer of funds entails aiding and abetting criminal activity,” Peace Now had charged.
Councils named in the petition included the Binyamin, Samaria, Gush Etzion and South Hebron Hills Regional councils. The council’s of Efrat, Kedumim and Beit El were also named.
“Amana is the most significant organization operating in the settlements,” Peace Now said. “For decades, it has overseen the establishment of dozens of illegal outposts and neighborhoods with the help of massive budgets, some of which have been transferred from Israeli taxpayer money through the local settlement authorities in violation of the law. The judges’ decision is a dramatic yet necessary step that limits, for the time being, this illicit transfer of funds to illegal projects in the settlements and outposts.
The YESHA Council said it had no response to the court decision.
On Wednesday, the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria is set to advance the planning of over 2,000 Jewish homes in the settlements.


Tags law