'The IDF is Breaching Promises to Build in Judea'

Gush Etzion regional head Davidi Perl points the finger at Civil Administration for not acting on old approvals by Ehud Barak.

Benny Toker, Ari Yashar ,

Davidi Perl
Davidi Perl
Public Relations

Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council in Judea, was one of the many regional leaders who blew the whistle on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's covert Jewish building freeze - now, he warns the state is purposely delaying a building project in his region.

The IDF Civil Administration on Tuesday extended the appeals period by 30 days for Arab residents against the declaration of nearly 4,000 dunams (about 1,000 acres) in Gush Etzion as state land - after the previous 45-day period ended without a single appeal being filed.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, the regional leader reminded that back in 2012 then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the construction of Gvaot, a town located next to Alon Shvut in the area being discussed in the recent declaration.

Despite the approval, construction on the town has been halted by the IDF's Civil Administration which rules the area - it in fact is one of many projects that were approved by Barak but have yet to been put into effect in the plot of land up for discussion.

"Ehud Barak in his time signed on two plans to establish 700 housing units in Gvaot, but the prime minister (Binyamin Netanyahu) didn't allow the Planning Committee to meet (on them)," revealed Perl.

The Judea leader noted that the lands under question are state land by any estimation, meaning that no claims of ownership by local Arab residents should be blocking the forward momentum of the construction.

"In Gvaot there are thousands of dunams of state land within urban demarcation lines, they underwent an inspection as part of the process of declaration (of state land), but for all the published bids only a small percentage made it to marketing and construction," said Perl.

Explaining the process of building declarations and their limited connection to reality, Perl used the example of nearby Efrat in Gush Etzion, saying "for example there is building today in Efrat that made headlines at least five times until it finally saw the light of day."

In the regional head's words, the Civil Administration is preventing the building plans from moving forward, noting "we met all the conditions, why are they delaying without a reason? They aren't the owners of Judea and Samaria, there's the prime minister, and he must make a clear statement about what was promised."

The Defense Ministry said in response "a request was submitted to the Civil Administration head for an extension of four months (on the plan). After examining it, he decided to allow those requesting an extension of 30 days to exercise their right to make a plea."

The move is particularly damaging given the housing crisis gripping Israel, and the possible relief that could be afforded by allowing natural growth and development in Judea and Samaria, a region that is reportedly over 90% unpopulated.