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      State Turns Blind Eye on Illegal Arab Outpost

      Regavim criticizes Ya'alon after announcement in Supreme Court that mass illegal building outside Maaleh Adumim won't be touched.
      By Ari Yashar
      First Publish: 2/27/2014, 5:03 PM

      Betzalel Smutrich of Regavim
      Betzalel Smutrich of Regavim
      Regavim Movement

      Defense Ministry Moshe Yaalon has come in for sharp criticism, after the State Attorney announced Tuesday to the Supreme Court that a large illegal Arab outpost that has sprung up outside Maale Adumim, to the east of Jerusalem, will not be destroyed.

      Attorney Betzalel Smutrich, director of Regavim, the NGO watchdog group for Jewish national property rights, condemned the decision in no uncertain terms, particularly given Yaalon's recent inquiry into the destruction of the Kaisler home in Kida, Samaria.

      When it came to the demolition of the home of Sagi Kaisler, director of the Samaria Residents' Committee, a move many argue was fueled by political revenge, "the Defense Minister emphasized the great consideration he gives for an uncompromising meticulousness to the rule of law," notes Smutrich.

      "This decision places Minister Yaalon's announcement two days ago in a ridiculous, if not grotesque light, along with the hollow declarations about guarding the rule of law," charged the attorney.

      The illegal Arab outpost is located in a strategic area, and right in the middle of an IDF firing range, making the government decision not to act absurd according to Smutrich.

      "At the site there are 80 new buildings that the Palestinian Authority (PA) built, according to a systematic strategy to control the area," argued Smutrich. "It is met by weakness, if not submission, on the part of the Defense system.

      Indeed, Women in Green and other organizations have noted that illegal Arab construction is part of a clear PA policy of controlling "Area C," an area designated for Israeli control by the Oslo Accords.

      State tried to legalize illegal Arab outpost

      The Attorney General's declaration that the state does not intend to enforce the law regarding the illegal Arab buildings outside Maale Adumim was only the start; an offer was made by the Attorney General to come up with a draft of the outpost that would ensure the illegal buildings could remain, an offer the local Arabs rejected.

      Following the rejection, it was declared there would be no destruction, as such a demolition isn't a high priority "at the current time." In practice, such a statement means the illegal outpost will be untouched.

      If a change in policy should a occur, the government obligated itself to inform the Arab residents of the illegal outpost at least 30 days before any actions on the ground.

      It is noted that the Kaisler family's home was destroyed by the Civil Administration, under Yaalon's orders, with no warning.

      The Attorney General's statement noted it is "based, among others, on the policy of planning arrangement for the Bedouin population in the region."

      The statement is seen as indicating the state is considering not only to not evacuate the outpost, but is weighing "legalizing" the illegal structures and justifying the land grab.

      The Supreme Court ruled to cancel the petition by the Arab residents of the illegal outpost following the declaration, given that no demolition is in the works.