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Samaria Leadership Sees Rechelim Court Ruling as Vindication

Regional Authority chief: Rechelim decision has "placed a mirror in front of the government, in which to see its own face."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/22/2011, 12:02 PM

Young settlers of Rechelim (file)
Young settlers of Rechelim (file)
Rechelim website

The Shomron Regional Authority chief, Gershon Mesika, said Tuesday that the Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court decision telling the state to draw up zoning plans for Rechelim has "placed a mirror in front of the government, in which to see its own face."

The decision means that the court has accepted the longtime contention of residents of Judea and Samaria that the so-called "illegal outposts" are, in fact, legal communities established by the government itself, which only lack a final signature of approval from the Defense Minister.  This signature, they say, is being delayed for political reasons.

The local authority and grassroots Shomron Residents' Council see the decision as a vindication of the message they have been imparting to visiting ministers, Knesset members and journalists in hundreds of tours of Shomron over the past few years. The residents, they explain, are citizens who bought their homes from the Ministry of Housing and Construction and suddenly found them defined as "illegal." Since then they are unable to construct kindergartens and other public facilities.

Rechelim is located between Ariel and Kfar Tapuach in Shomron. It is home to about 60 families. It was approved by government decision in 1998 , and the Housing Ministry's Amidar Company built a neighborhood in the community and sold it to citizens. A zoning plan was drawn up and obtained all necessary signatures except that of the Minister of Defense. 

A report drawn up by Talia Sasson, who was an attorney in the Justice Ministry, determined that the lack of this signature makes the community "an illegal outpost." Sasson has since revealed her political affiliation by running for the Knesset on the Meretz ticket.