New Amona law gains backing in coalition

Likud, Jewish Home MKs unite behind new legislation to normalize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Thousands show support for Amona
Thousands show support for Amona
Miriam Tzachi

Members of the Likud and Jewish Home parties are pushing for a new piece of legislation crafted to normalize Jewish communities over the Green Line and end the threat of legal claims on their land by leftist organizations or non-citizens posing as absentee landowners.

Legislators backing the bill hope to bring it to a Knesset vote by next week.

The new proposal boasts the support of Jewish Home MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Shuli Mualem, as well as Likud MKs David Bittan and Yoav Kish.

Both the Likud and Jewish Home parties are reportedly prepared to back the bill.

According to Channel 2, the four sponsors of the bill wrote that the purpose of the law is to allow for the normalization of communities across Judea and Samaria which were built or expanded in good faith without a formal zoning process, noting that often times the government was involved in such projects.

“In many cases towns were built or expanded with the cooperation or support of the government,” the MKs wrote, “yet the [government] never normalized them in terms of building plans, and at times did so without realizing that they were built on what might be later claimed as private land.” In Israel, normalizing housing plans is often done after the fact due to the long bureaucratic process.

According to the MKs, the destruction of such communities or neighborhoods constitutes “serious harm to residents who have lived there for many years,” adding that given the state’s role in the building, it must “properly balance the harm [caused to residents] and the harm to the property [rights] of the registered owners.”

When necessary, the bill would permit the state to invoke the right of eminent domain to assert ownership over the land in question in exchange for generous compensation to the prior owners, a move the bill’s backers called “a moderate, proportionate infringement” of the property rights of absentee owners.

“[The bill] proposes to offer expanded compensation to anyone who can prove ownership of the land [being transferred], based upon its value prior to the construction of towns or neighborhoods on it.”

But opposition leaders protested the proposal, saying it served only sectorial interests, although there is a precedent as this is the solution a Jewish owner of lands built on illegally by Bedouin was forced to accept.

“Once again the coalition is operating based on pressure and [political] interests, the state is no longer of importance [to them], only the narrow interests of coalition partners, and now its Bennett’s turn,” said Knesset Deputy Speaker Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union).

“Netanyahu and his partners have no real desire to benefit the public or improve those matters that really concern the Israeli public; all that motivates the coalition members are ‘grab what you can’ policies.”