Report: State seeks to legalize West Tapuach outpost

Defense Ministry will petition High Court to 'legalize' standing homes in West Tapuach.

Yaakov Levi,

Samaria Regional Council

The state plans to ask the High Court to accept its stance on the legality of the new community (outpost) of West Tapuach, in central Samaria, Army Radio reported Thursday.

In the past, Israel has contended the community was built illegally, but as it is all built on state land, there is no reason not to declare it legal.

“Illegal” in this context means that it was built in 2000 without approved zoning and construction plans and permits, all of which have since been filed and approved. The community consists of about 40 homes. Israel's bureaucratic planning laws mean construction throughout the country often takes place in a similar fashion - with retroactive approvals commonplace - but only in Judea and Samaria do such methods raise problems, for political reasons.

There have been several claims by Arabs for the land on which some of the homes are built, and a number of homes in the community have been razed by court order.

However, the homes that are still standing are all built on state land – and according to the Defense Ministry, it is “seriously considering legalizing” those homes. A prerequisite to that, the Ministry plans to tell the court, will be a survey to determine exactly which lands are state lands and which are private ones.

Leftist group Yesh Din has filed a petition with the court to force the state to take down the homes that are built on state lands as well, because they were built without legal plans.

Among the group's complaints is an access road to the community which it claims prevents Arabs from the village of Yasuf from freely accessing their farm holdings.

The court has not yet set a date for hearings on the state's response.