Daily Israel Report

Legal System Imposes Bureaucratic Difficulties on Beit El

Beit El mayor says that the legal system is making it difficult for new land to be built in the town, despite government promises.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/7/2012, 4:15 AM

Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El
Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El
Josh Hasten

The Israeli government has promised the residents of Beit El new homes, but the legal system is continuing to make it difficult for the promise to be kept, the mayor of Beit El said on Monday.

Last week, the Central District Commander signed on documents adding new land to the Binyamin region town. As per the documents, Beit El now includes land previously used for a Border Police base. Most of the new homes, promised to the residents in exchange for a peaceful eviction of families from several homes in the Ulpana neighborhood, are to be built on the former base.

However, Mayor Moshe Rosenbaum told Arutz Sheva, while the government is keeping its promise to the residents despite fears it would not, the legal system is imposing bureaucratic difficulties on the residents.

He added that other areas are intended to be used by Beit El in order to complete the project’s implementation, but the legal system is taking its time granting approvals.

“Perhaps you will be surprised, but nothing moves without the signature of the Attorney General, even if there is a directive by the Prime Minister,” Rosenbaum said, adding that sometimes it seems that the real Prime Minister is Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and his deputy, Mike Blass. Blass recently said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's promise to build 300 new homes in Beit El is unfeasible because, as he claimed, most of Beit El was built on land that was seized by Israel through a method that the High Court has since found to be problematic.

While the Ulpana neighborhood was built on private Arab land, purchased in a deal of contested legality – most of Beit El was built on land that was initially used by the IDF and then transferred by government decision to World Zionist Histadrut.

Beit El was founded in 1977. The practice in which land taken by the IDF is converted for use by a civilian community was stopped in the late 70s, after a High Court decision opposing it.

Rosenbaum noted that Blass’ term is to end soon, and expressed hope that his replacement will be someone whose positions will enable the promotion of the government's moves in Judea and Samaria.

He added that such a significant extension of Beit El would have consequences in terms of education, sanitation, etc. Rosenbaum noted that all these considerations will be taken into account in planning new neighborhoods in Beit El.