PM working to save outpost home of slain IDF officer

While 10 homes in the Hayovel enclave might be legalized, Maj. Eliraz Peretz’s house may have been built on Palestinian land.

Eliraz Peretz home 311 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Eliraz Peretz home 311
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is working behind the scenes to find a legal solution that would prevent the demolition of the home of slain Israeli soldier Maj. Eliraz Peretz, which is located in the Hayovel outpost, just outside the settlement of Eli.
His two-story stone house is one of 12 unauthorized homes in the Hayovel outpost.
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Peace Now petitioned the High Court of Justice to halt construction of these homes in 2005, as well as six others in the Haresha outpost. At the time it was concerned that the homes lacked authorization and that civil administration injunctions to halt work on the structures had been ignored.
During the legal proceedings all the homes were completed and populated.
In the summer of 2006, another resident of the outpost, Maj. Ro’i Klein, was killed when he threw himself on a hand grenade to save his soldiers during the Second Lebanon War. In March 2010, Peretz was killed in a firefight with Palestinian terrorists near the Gaza border.
Politicians have since lobbied the state to find a way to save the two homes, where the widows and children of both men still live.
Peace Now has told the court that it would not object to having these two homes excluded from the petition, if judgment was rendered on the remaining 10 homes. Earlier this year, the Defense Ministry said that it would look for a way to authorize the homes.
Legalization of the homes would be the equivalent of authorizing the outpost, which would counter numerous pledges Israel has made to the US and the international community to remove unauthorized outposts.
Peace Now has expressed concern that Netanyahu’s government is looking to legalize outposts when possible, and that its stance on Hayovel is the start of a new policy with respect to outposts.
The state is expected to submit a report on the status of the land in Hayovel and Haresha in the coming days, possibly as early as Thursday.
It is expected that with respect to Hayovel, the Attorney-General’s Office will tell the court that 10 of the 12 homes, including Klein’s are built on state land and as a result they could be authorized.
And question has arisen, however, as to whether the Peretz home and that of one other family are built on private Palestinian land. That kind of determination would prevent their legalization.
Netanyahu does not want to see the home demolished. On Wednesday he continued to work behind the scenes to find a legal way to save Peretz’s home.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has similarly been looking to save the home, and held a closed meeting on the matter on Wednesday.
In that meeting he said he, too, was working to find a legal solution that would prevent any harm from coming to Peretz’s widow and children.
One idea the Defense Ministry may be considering is to move the home to another area in Judea and Samaria where there are permits for legal construction.
In a press release regarding the outpost Wednesday, the Defense Ministry referred to it as a neighborhood of Eli. This contradicts a state-sponsored report in 2005, compiled by private attorney Talia Sasson, which determined that the outpost was located outside the boundaries of the Eli.
The residents of Eli have long claimed that the outpost is part of their settlement, and that only politics have prevented the authorization of the homes. It was created in 1998 with the help of NIS 2.7 million from the Construction and Housing Ministry.
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now speculated that the state, in its response to the court, would go as far along the road toward authorization of the 10 homes as was necessary to prevent their demolition, but it would stop short of actually legalizing the homes.