Sde Boaz
Sde BoazGershon Elinson/FLASH90

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's Secretary for Settlement Affairs, Kobi Eliraz, slammed critics of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman over his handling of the situations in Sde Boaz and the Machpelah House in Hevron in a closed meeting Thursday.

Sde Boaz was estsablished 50 years ago, near Route 60 south of Jerusalem. The buildings in question were built on “survey land,” or land about which there is no suspicion of private ownership but whose status the government still has not “normalized." The community is currently home to four families.

The homes are currently being surveyed, and the legal process is expected to be completed within a year and a half. Nevertheless, Liberman has ordered the demolition to take place immediately.

"Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has been very good for the settlements," Eliraz said. "For decades, thousands of housing units have been approved in Judea and Samaria, and more than 8,000 housing units have been approved since the beginning of 2017 alone, of which 3,066 were approved for immediate construction. The [approval and construction] figures for the first half of 2017 are the highest since 1992. We will continue to promote construction throughout Judea and Samaria."

Eliraz added that "Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is investing great efforts in regulating the outposts, and his representatives are members of the Settlement Committee, which succeeded in bringing about significant solutions for the settlement of the existing outposts that are not being evacuated. The survey process is a long process in which we examine a great deal of material relevant to determining the status of the land. Under the guidance of Minister Liberman, the Ministry of Defense and the Civil Administration are handling dozens of surveys relating to the existing outposts. Among other things, the firm has recently handled the outposts of Adei Ad [near Shilo], Tapuah West [near Kfar Tapuah], the Palgei-Mayim neighborhood and Giv'at Haru'a, as well as promoting the Blue Line for the land on which the new settlement [Amichai] is being built for evacuees of Amona. These actions forestalled the Supreme Court's rulings, which would have led to the destruction [of many homes]."

Regarding the Sde Boaz outpost, Eliraz said: "The four buildings in Sde Boaz were recently placed illegally and without the requisite approvals. The status of the land in the area is under investigation, which has not yet been completed by the various professionals. This is being done according to professional and legal considerations...There can not be a situation in which the state invests many resources and forces in the regulation of existing outposts, while at the same time we are "challenged" by expanding existing outposts such as Sde Boaz."

"This is a problematic situation that puts our work at risk and changes all the priorities. There is a price for such actions. Nevertheless, Defense Minister Liberman is working to solve the crisis, and therefore he agreed in an unusual step to advance the survey process and to provide a timetable for the end of the process, despite its complexity, in return for the buildings being evacuated voluntarily. Regarding the Machpela House in Hevron, we also examined the possibility of leaving the [families who] claim to have purchased [the property] in their home, but the matter has not passed through the Justice Ministry yet.

"Nevertheless, the Attorney General agreed to the request of the Ministry of Defense to request that the First Registration Committee perform a quick examination to understand the buyers' connection to the house, in return for their leaving by agreement from the house until the completion of the examination. The Defense Minister is also considering approving the order to upgrade the status of the Hebron Municipal Committee, which will significantly improve the management of life in Hevron. I would suggest to the residents of Sde Boaz and the Machpelah House not to be fooled by all sorts of slogans and others elements trying to drag them into bad places that would only harm the Defense Minister's attempt to help them."