The watchdog group Regavim responded Tuesday to a threat by the United Arab List (Ra'am) to dismantle the government coalition if its proposed amendment to the Electricity Law, which seeks to connect tens of thousands of illegal structures to the national electricity grid, is not passed:
“This extortionate bill endangers the rule of law and national planning and construction policy. The legislative amendment proposed by the Raam Party to Israel’s Electricity Law seeks to connect not only existing illegal structures, but any and all illegal structures that will be built in the future. It is clear that approval of this law will result in a surge in illegal construction.”
Regavim’s spokesperson stressed that the existing ban on connecting structures erected without a permit to the electricity grid, which the proposed amendment aims to suspend, is one of the state's most effective tools against the national epidemic of illegal construction.
Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim, differentiated between different categories of structures, noting that there is a certain degree of logic in approving electrical connections for structures for which the government intends to approve permits – but not a wholesale whitewashing of illegal construction.
“Structures that lack permits should meet basic criteria; otherwise, chaos will ensue and the government will lose its last remaining tool for preventing illegal construction and avoiding complete breakdown of planning and land-use policy:
The first condition for this amendment should be that it applies only to structures built before 2018 and the enactment of the Kaminitz Law, which included clear and enforceable criteria for construction.
The second condition should be that only structures for which a detailed outline plan has been submitted by the state, and not by various entities such as local authorities, are eligible for electrical connection.
The third condition is a requirement to deposit a bank guarantee of NIS 40,000, which will be forfeited if the plan is not approved and a building permit is not obtained.
The fourth condition is that it does not apply to structures for which judicial or administrative orders of demolition have been issued.
The fifth condition is that the connection will be temporary; permanent electrical connection will be contingent on approval of the state’s plan and issuance of a building permit. "