Daily Israel Report

Professors to Netanyahu: Resolve Demolition Issue

Professors for a Strong Israel sends a letter to Netanyahu, asking him to prevent demolitions of Jewish communities.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/9/2011, 2:12 AM

The Professors for a Strong Israel organization sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, in which they called on him to resolve once and for all the issue of the planned demolitions of Jewish communities.

The letter was sent as the danger of demolition still looms over such places as Migron, Givat Assaf, and the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El.

The organization’s chairman, Dr. Gabi Avital, told Arutz Sheva that it is time to say loud and clear that peace with the Arabs should not mean that Jewish communities are destroyed.

“Peace is not about destruction, peace is about building,” he said, “so why is it that every time we talk about peace we speak about destroying communities?”

Dr. Avital added that it was proven long ago that the issue is political rather than a legal one.

“[Former Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon himself called people to build outposts, and then he told Talia Sasson to redefine their status,” he said, referring to the 2005 Sasson Report, an official Israeli government paper from 2005 that was authored by then-head of the State Prosecutor’s Criminal Department, Talia Sasson.

The report claimed that the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Housing and Construction and the World Zionist Organization were diverting millions of shekels to build “illegal outposts” in Judea and Samaria.

After leaving government service, Sasson joined the radical leftist Meretz party and was positioned in the seventh slot on its Knesset list in the last elections. She vowed to “keep on fighting against the outposts” from the Knesset if elected, but Meretz only received three seats.

“After this report was published, all of a sudden all kinds of Arabs who claimed ownership of these lands began popping up,” Dr. Avital said. “We think this issue could have been resolved long ago. It’s inconceivable that a country or state authority will build houses and all kinds of people will challenge that and seek to expropriate the land. They can always be compensated. After all, these houses were built with the approval of the state.”

Dr. Avital called on Netanyahu to stand by the promises he made before being elected.

“The Israeli voter elected a right-wing government because he wanted to preserve and strengthen these communities,” he said. “It is very easy to legalize these places. All that needs to be done is to sign development orders for all of those communities.”

On Tuesday, attorneys for the government filed a motion asking the High Court to extend the deadline for them to file their position on the destruction of the neighborhoods and communities.

The petition, filed on behalf Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the IDF commander in Yesha, said “the respondents need two more days in order to formulate their position.”

Barak’s request for more time comes amid reportedly heated discussions between the Prime Minister’s office, Defense Minister's bureau, and the office of the Attorney General.

Meanwhile, the court case against Migron took a dramatic turn after the Arabs who claim the land is theirs withdrew their lawsuit for damages after being required to present proof of ownership.

This means that the Arabs have no evidence showing that the land is theirs. These are the same Arabs whose legal motion led to a High Court decision to raze the Jewish homes built on the land.