Barak considers conscripting green police, park rangers to enforce settlement building freeze

Barak considers conscrip

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has raised the idea of conscripting the Environmental Protection Ministry's green police and the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) rangers to help enforce the settlement building freeze in the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Apparently not content with his 14 inspectors, 40 soon-to-be-trained new inspectors and the assistance of the Israel Police, Border Police and the Civil Administration, Barak has begun to look even further afield for manpower. Over the weekend, the Civil Administration issued freeze orders to most of the settlements following a Cabinet decision and Barak's orders from last week to halt all new settlement construction for 10 months. Some 3,000 apartments that have already been started and 28 public buildings will still be built. It is the most comprehensive crackdown in settlement history, and apparently requires far more manpower than Barak had on hand. However, with only 30 green police and inspectors to cover the entire country, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) has objected to any notions of conscripting his staff. Environmental enforcement is one of the ministry's weakest points right now and if part of the ministry's enforcement branch were to spend the next 10 months cracking down on illegal building, environmental enforcement would take a serious hit for most of the next year. Erdan has also instructed the NPA to refer all manpower requests from the Defense Ministry or the Civil Administration to him. The Civil Administration did not respond to a request for comment by press time.