'Illegal Palestinian homes left untouched'

National Unity's Uri Ariel says Civil Administration stopped destroying illegal Palestinian structures in the West Bank.

uri Ariel 248.88 (photo credit: Knesset)
uri Ariel 248.88
(photo credit: Knesset)
National Union MK Uri Ariel on Thursday said the Civil Administration froze its demolitions of illegal Palestinian West Bank structures in March 2008, and has not moved against the phenomenon since. To support his assertion, he sent members of the media sections of a 2008 report from the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, which referred to the fact that such demolitions had stopped. It noted that 111 illegal Palestinian structures were taken down in January and February of that year and that it was the lowest number to have been destroyed since 2000, when only 41 such structures were demolished. All total, in 2008, the Civil Administration recorded 646 illegal Palestinian structures, the report stated. Ariel noted that even though the law had stopped being enforced for Palestinians, it continued to operate against settlers. "Burying one's head in the sand with respect to illegal Palestinian construction will only create trouble," Ariel said. Activists on the grassroots Binyamin region citizens committee said the report showed the true face of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said the numbers were misleading. If those demolitions were significant, the settlers would have complained and protested over each one, she said. If it were so easy to remove structures in the settlements or the outposts, the government would do a better job of enforcing the law in the West Bank, she said. "If they can demolish so many structures, why would the government be afraid to remove the [unauthorized] Migron outpost?" The Civil Administration would neither confirm or deny the report.