Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Monday night that he would set up a committee to develop a legal framework to prevent illegal building in Judea and Samaria that would apply to all residents. The announcement by Ya'alon came in response to a lawsuit by the Regavim group that demanded the state intervene to prevent illegal Arab building, just as it acts to prevent illegal construction in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.
The lawsuit by Regavim demands that the state order the demolition of illegal building by Palestinian Authority Arabs between the Binyamin region community of Neve Tzuf and the Arab village of Deir Nazim. The buildings overlook a road used by Israeli residents, and constitute a danger, Regavim said. The buildings were constructed without a permit.
According to Regavim, Arabs have built thousands of illegal structures that the Civil Administration has ignored, despite the fact that these buildings have no permits. The group has filed numerous lawsuits demanding that the Civil Administration fulfill its obligation not only when it comes to illegal Jewish building, but to illegal Arab building as well.
According to Israeli law, the Civil Administration has the final word on all construction in Judea and Samaria. Building can only take place if the necessary permits are obtained. But while the Civil Administration is very careful to enforce the law in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, it tends to overlook illegal structures built by Arabs. As a result, Regavim, a watchdog group that keeps track of illegal Arab building.
In response to the Regavim petition, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein suggested developing a framework which would deal equally with all illegal construction. Ya'alon said that he would adopt this plan in principle, although the details needed to be worked out. Ya'alon said he would meet with IDF and Civil Administration officials in the coming days, as well as with the officials from the Public Security and Justice Ministries.