Police ask Samaria Council to demolish own illegal structures

Samaria Regional Council representatives: This is an example of politically-motivated enforcement of planning laws, designed to target settlements.

Police find body 248 88 (photo credit: Police [file])
Police find body 248 88
(photo credit: Police [file])
Judea and Samaria Police issued a request on Sunday to the Samaria Regional Council to demolish 11 illegal structures in its territory on its own accord, to prevent a future confrontation with security forces, a police spokesman said. In recent months, Israel has come under strong American pressure to freeze all construction work in existing settlements. The structures referred to in the police's notice are located in established settlements such as Itamar and Itzhar. The move has been slammed by a representative of the Samaria Regional Council as an example of politically-motivated and partial enforcement of planning laws, designed to target settlements. "Every month, the civil administration issues demolition orders against illegal structures to local authorities and police. To avoid friction, we have passed on the document to the Samaria Regional Council in the hope that future use of force and incidents can be avoided," said Judea and Samaria Police Spokesman Danny Poleg. Poleg said that if the Samaria Regional Council "takes care" of the illegal structures on its own, unpleasant scenes which could unfold when the army and police move in to demolish the structure could be avoided. "It [the demolition] will happen in any case, but we hope the council deals with this on its own," Poleg said. But David Ha'ivri, Director of the Shomron Liaison Office, accused Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the government of employing double standards regarding construction within settlements. "The law is being enforced only against unregulated Jewish building. Across Judea and Samaria, as well as on the western side of the Green Line, there are thousands of illegal building sites that are not being subject to the law," Ha'ivri said. "We are seeing partial enforcement against Jews in Judea and Samaria again and again," he added. "We hope Defense Minister Ehud Barak will stop going back on previous agreements, and will also allow Jews to build on the Land of Israel," Ha'ivri said. Ha'ivri denied that settlers were building on property that belonged to others, arguing that "this construction could be regulated if the defense minister could approve building plans." He said construction work in towns like Beit She'an and Beit Shemesh, on the western side the Green Line, "didn't have final building plans approved, but construction went ahead anyway, and the plans were rightly approved eventually. The same should happen here, too. We should be allowed to breathe."