Illegal Arab construction
Illegal Arab constructionIsrael news photo: Dov Barak

A lone Jew dedicated to fighting for Judea and Samaria in Israel's courts has struck fear into the Arab residents of Arab Susya.

The Susya in question, which lies between Kiryat Arba-Hevron and Arad, is eponymously named for a nearby Jewish community that pre-dates its construction.

"He comes with small weapons and his camera, sometimes with armed forces, sometimes with settlers,” Susya resident Nasser Nawaja told the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency.

The man in question is Ovad Arad, director of the Judea and Samaria section of the Regavim non-governmental organization.

Arad is tasked with photographing and documenting illegal Arab construction in Israeli-administered areas for the group’s legal petitions demanding expedited demolitions.

Susya, an Arab village of 350, now feels it is at risk of destruction due to Arad's conscientious, law-loving vocation. The petition against Susya was filed in 2010.

“Wherever they find a Palestinian home, in Israel or Jerusalem or the West Bank, they ask the court to demolish it,” Nawaja complained.

Founded in 2006, Regavim seeks to "prevent foreign elements from taking over the Jewish People’s territorial resources," but its permit is under development.

Aiming to see equal enforcement of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria, Regavim serves as a counter-weight to the numerous left-wing and Arab organizations seeking the destruction of Jewish communities.

"We are trying to spread the truth about the land in Judea and Samaria," Regavim northern director Meir Deutsch told Ma'an.

In recent years, observers have noted the pace of illegal Arab construction in Israeli administered zones - often funded by the Palestinian Authority - has outstripped illegal Jewish construction tenfold.

Despite this, statistics show the Israeli government demolishes far more Jewish construction than illegal Arab construction on a per capita basis.

To stop that trend, Regavim has mounted a legal campaign demanding Israeli leaders act on frozen or tortuously lengthy challenges to demolitions of illegal Arab construction.

In recent months, a Regavim petition secured a commitment from Jerusalem to tie up all pending demolition orders before August 2012.

Regavim has also directly petitioned against government destruction of Jewish communities in cases where government approval and assistance aided in their construction.

In April 2010 it won a case to halt the demolition of six homes in Har Bracha outpost near Nablus. The group also joined the Binyamin settler council in filing for an injunction against demolition of Migron homes in 2011.

To date, Regavim has mounted over 20 cases targeting illegal Arab construction in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and the Negev.

Regavim didn't invent "lawfare" - the PA did - but they seem to be winning the argument in Israel's courts.