'Time to end Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria'

Jordan Valley Regional Council chief blasts Civil Administration, says body which governs Judea and Samaria is biased against Jews.

Hezki Baruch,

Pro-Sovereignty discussion at Leumiada conference
Pro-Sovereignty discussion at Leumiada conference
Hezki Baruch

Jordan Valley Regional Council chief David Elhiani excoriated the Israeli Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, accusing the Defense Ministry agency of discriminating against Jews while often ignoring the crimes of local Arabs.

Speaking at a panel discussion regarding the application of Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria at the annual Likud conference in Eilat, Elhiani said the time had come to close down the Civil Administration, calling it an unnecessary intermediary between local leaders and government ministries.

“Why do I need to go the Civil Administration over matters regarding the environment? There is an Environmental Protection Minister. When I need something [in regards to] agriculture, I go to the Minister of Agriculture. [The Civil Administration] is a body which perpetuates the occupation of the Jewish population. It needs to be dismantled. Close the Civil Administration.”

Formed in 1981, the Civil Administration was established under the terms of the Camp David Accords with Egypt, which had called for an end to martial law and direct IDF administration of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Technically separate from the army, the Civil Administration is part of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, an agency of the Defense Ministry.

Elhiani noted that in some instances in his district, the Civil Administration had offered retroactive approval to illegal land grabs or unauthorized construction by local Arabs – something the Civil Administration would never do for Jews accused of building without permits.

“I asked the Defense Ministry why is it that the Civil Administration offers permits to Palestinian lawbreakers who simply took over state land that is within the municipal boundaries of the [Israeli] town of Tomer, on a site that was supposed to have gone to a family [from Tomer].”

Defense Ministry attorney Ruth Bar responded that the move had been undertaken by the Civil Administration independently.

“Since when does the Civil Administration govern Judea and Samaria?” Elhiani continued. “Friends, the Civil Administration hurts Jews and it needs to be closed.”

“Is it difficult to apply sovereignty [to Judea and Samaria]? We need to start with baby steps, starting with an end to the policy which makes the central commander part of the government here. [We need] steps which will improve the quality of life here, so that residents won’t be dependent on an army officer for making decisions here.”