Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuFlash 90/Dana Kopel/POOL

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued instructions this evening (Tuesday) not to demolish the homes of soldiers and reservists during wartime.

The Prime Minister's Office stated that in order to prevent a recurrence of incidents like today in Gush Etzion, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered that as long as the war continues, the evacuation and demolition of the homes of soldiers and reservists of settlers in Judea and Samaria must be stopped.

Earlier today, Interior Minister Moshe Arbel contacted the legal advisor to the security system, attorney Itai Ofir, following the destruction of the houses, some of which belong to soldiers and reservists.

Arbel wrote, "This morning the Civil Administration, with the assistance of the Central Command and the police, evacuated and destroyed ten buildings in Pnei Kedem, claiming that these were built illegally. According to reports, the houses that were destroyed included two houses of reserve duty soldiers, who are currently serving the people of Israel and the citizens of Israel in the war in Gaza."

Arbel mentioned that "at the beginning of the war, the Land Enforcement Authority at the Ministry of Finance, responsible for fighting against illegal construction, with the consent of the Deputy Legal Adviser to the government, decided not to issue new orders, not to impose new fines, and not to take enforcement procedures during the war, even with regard to illegal buildings for which proceedings have been going on for a long time."

According to Arbel, "the decision was reached due both to the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of reservists who are unable these days to conduct a legal battle or settle their case with the Authority, and due to the needs of the Authority, many of whose employees have been recruited, as well as the prioritization of tasks which does not justify a focus at this time on taking draconian procedures against citizens, for not complying with the directives of planning and construction.”

In the letter, Minister Arbel claimed that "many of the residents of Pnei Kedem and other communities in Judea and Samaria are currently being recruited for a long and bloody war, that was launched by the murderous terrorist organization Hamas on October 7th. It is not reasonable that these soldiers, their family members or their neighbors, who also have relatives in the reserves, are among the hostages, murdered or evacuees, will now have to deal with the bureaucracy and regulations or worry that their homes will be destroyed."

In conclusion, the Minister wrote, "I demand that the enforcement on land be frozen until the end of the war, as has been done in other parts of the State of Israel, so should also be in Judea and Samaria. This is the most justified and appropriate solution during this period of time, also from a legal point of view, and there is no reason why it should not be adopted by the security establishment as well."