Chief Justice Hayut:
Smugglers route enforcement direct result of Regavim petition

Regavim: 'Instead of preventing creation of road in first place, Civil Administration takes ineffective steps to catch up.'

Mordechai Sones ,

Site of illegal UK-EU roadworks in IDF training ground
Site of illegal UK-EU roadworks in IDF training ground

Following government testimony before the Supreme Court, Regavim's recent petition regarding the "Smugglers' Route" connecting Har Hevron and Yatta to the Arad Valley – running through an IDF training ground – was denied. Chief Justice Esther Hayut determined enforcement procedures begin only as a result of Regavim's petition, and required the government to pay all legal expenses for the case.

After hearing arguments regarding an illegal road paved by the Palestinian Authority through an IDF training ground in the heart of the Judean Desert, the Supreme Court's decision, handed down late last week, noted that no enforcement action had been taken against this road that threatens the safety and security of every resident of Israel as well as challenging Israeli jurisdiction over Area C – until Regavim forced the issue onto the public agenda by petitioning the Court.

The Supreme Court required the government to reimburse Regavim's legal expenses, a sum of NIS 3,500.

The illegal road, first discovered by a municipal inspector, connects the Arab settlements of the southern Har Hevron region (home to some of the most notorious terrorists and criminals in recent years) to the Arad Valley in the Negev – and from there, to the rest of Israel.

The route provides free passage of terrorists, arms, drugs, and women (for prostitution and polygamy) from Yatta and Hevron into Israel; no checkpoints, no border control, no questions asked. The road also serves as a major element of the growing infrastructure system serving the network of illegal Palestinian Authority outposts in Area C – an area under full Israeli jurisdiction under the Oslo Accords that has been earmarked by the PA as the heart of the de facto Palestinian State it is busy creating.

As a result of Regavim's petition, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction this past summer, prohibiting any further work in the IDF firing zone.

The government had earth and boulders piled at the entrance to the road a number of times, but it didn't take long for these half-hearted measures to be reversed and for traffic to resume unimpeded.

UK-EU sign taking credit for illegal roadworks

In the recent hearing of Regavim's petition, the State's attorney stated that in the opinion of the government there is no effective method of demolishing an illegal road, and explained that the government intends to continue to carry out an array of enforcement measures against the illegal roadworks being carried out in the IDF training ground. Regavim attorney Avi Segal acquiesced to the government's request that details of these enforcement measures be conveyed to the justices behind closed doors, and the hearing was adjourned.

In the judgement handed down following this one-sided hearing, Chief Justice Hayut noted that enforcement procedures were initiated only after Regavim petitioned the Court and not in the course of standard operational activities. "We are convinced the State has taken and continues to take enforcement action against the road that is the subject of this petition. However, because this enforcement activity began only as a result of the petition, we instruct the State to bear the expenses incurred by the plaintiff," reads the Supreme Court decision.

"Instead of preventing the creation of the road in the first place, the Civil Administration is taking ineffective steps to catch up, which is a far more difficult task once the road becomes operational," says Regavim Field Coordinator for Judea and Samaria Yishai Hemo. "Chief Justice Hayut confirmed our claim that the government and its various arms should have enforced the law before this dangerous road was created. In light of the Civil Administration's negligence, we'll continue to monitor developments on the ground very closely."

Har Hevron Regional Council head Yohai Damri said: "I welcome the enforcement steps undertaken by the Civil Administration against the 'smuggling super-highway' and the massive water system that was created to support the systematic program of land theft orchestrated by Abbas and the European Union. But these are like a drop of water in the ocean: Every month, more and more infrastructure projects and more and more buildings are springing up. The Israeli government must create another specialized enforcement unit like the Yoav Unit in the Negev, to stop strategic maneuvers of this kind before it's too late. We'll continue to use all available means – and we'll win this war."