Majdal Shams
Majdal Shamsflash90
The Regavim organization for national lands filed an appeal to Israel’s High Court of Justice today (Sunday) against the Minister of Public Security, Police Department, Minister of Housing, the Majdal Shams municipality and the Israel Lands Administration regarding serious legal violations in the construction of the Majdal Shams community at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights.

Regavim attorney Amir Fisher claims that for the last six weeks illegal construction has been taking place in the Druze settlement of Majdal Shams without any building permits and that the construction has been moving forward on hundreds of dunams of land at the foot of Mount Hermon, including on a local nature preserve where development is prohibited by Israeli law.

Fisher further argues that the illegal construction already appears to be on an urban scale and is being carried out at a rapid pace. Heavy engineering vehicles, trucks and tractors have been carving up mountains, laying roads and building houses – creating “facts on the ground” and “causing irreversible damage to one of Israel’s most unique natural ecosystems.”

According to Regavim, construction should be carried out in an organized and systematic manner, approved by the proper authorities. Majdal Shams representatives, with the assistance of the Wakf guards on the compound, do not allow public access to the site and the Druze flags being raised on the ridge provide clear evidence to the nationalist intentions of the massive illegal development.

“The construction is not being carried out in the dark of night but at midday, using engineering tools and heavy equipment while publicly trampling on nature preserves. This is a clear demonstration of contempt for Israeli law and those charged with enforcing the law.”

Despite repeated appeals to the Minister of Public Security, the Israel Lands Administration and Minister of Housing, the state does not halt the illegal construction. Local police have claimed that they are powerless to interfere and enforce the law without circumventing the authority of the government.

Regavim has sued the police and Israel Lands Administration to immediately halt the illegal development.