'Oslo Accords Make it Hard to Stop Illegal Water Drilling'
The Oslo Accords make it hard to enforce the law in Judea and Samaria when it comes to illegal water drilling, Major General Eitan Dangot told the Knesset on Tuesday.
The IDF and Civil Administration were taken to task in a recent State Comptroller report for failing to uphold laws banning water theft, illegal water drilling, illegal construction, and traffic crimes in Judea and Samaria (Shomron).
According to the report, the IDF, Civil Administration and Israel Police all say they are not responsible for enforcement of zoning and construction laws in the region. Their refusal to get involved creates a reality where “each man does as he pleases,” the comptroller warned.
Israeli NGOs have warned that illegal drilling in Judea and Samaria is affecting northern Israel's water supply.
Dangot told the Knesset’s State Control Committee that the army is not averse to taking an active role in enforcement, but that its hands are tied by the Oslo Accords.
“There are difficulties in executing the oversight and enforcement on a daily basis, like with any organization with limited funds,” he explained in answer to a question from MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home). “Regarding the illegal drilling for water in Judea and Samaria, the intermediate agreements [with the PA] pose an obstacle.”
“Some of the issues need to be taken up with the diplomats,” he concluded.
Dangot later clarified that his statements “were said regarding illegal wells only” and that he did not mean to blame the Oslo Accords for the lack of law enforcement regarding other crimes.
Attorney Amir Fischer of the Regavim organization, which monitors illegal Arab settlements in Israel said, “When we talk about coordination [with the PA] and enforcement, it’s important to note that in the Palestinian sector nobody needs a permit to build. There’s no point in talking about coordinating enforcement when there are 6-7 requests for building permits per year out of thousands of buildings actually being built.”
“There is nothing to talk about when it comes to law enforcement against Palestinian crime in the realm of building and planning laws, because it simply doesn’t exist,” he added.
The Regavim NGO has often taken its battle to the courts to make the Civil Administration destroy buildings built illegally by Arab settlers on Israeli-owned land.