In an effort to enforce the rule of law, Israel demolished 20 illegal Palestinian structures in the Jerusalem region overnight Monday.
“The national unit will continue to enforce the law and exercise its responsibilities regarding any violation of planning and building laws,” the Israeli national planning and construction enforcement unit said in a statement Tuesday morning, TPS news agency reported.
Fourteen of the structures were located in the Palestinian village of Qalandia in northern Jerusalem, TPS said. The demolition was carried out in coordination with the Border Police from the nearby Binyamin region amid rioting by local Palestinians.
The demolition of the other six structures, located in eastern part of the Israeli capital, was done with the help of the Jerusalem municipality.
“The Israeli public has been dismayed for many years that the widespread illegal construction in the Arab sector is a fait accompli,” Regavim, a research-based NGO dedicated to ensuring accountable use of Israel’s national land, said in a statement. “The Israeli government proved to itself overnight that the expression ‘rule of law’ is not just an empty cliché and that it can restore sovereignty to every corner of the State of Israel.”
Josh Hasten, Regavim’s international director, in a Times of Israel blog penned on Tuesday, explains that after traveling throughout the country to research the subject, he discovered a “complete disregard for the rule of law amongst segments of various minorities when it comes to building and land preservation.”
“Standing at the top of a strategic lookout point in the northern Negev,” Hasten writes, “one can see how the various tribes and clans have dotted the horizon with illegal dwellings, to a point where it nearly looks like one contiguous shantytown. While the government has legalized 17 Bedouin communities, providing the people with free land to build homes and tend to their flocks — something that no other population in Israel is entitled to, many choose to remain off the grid in order to avoid paying taxes and utilities.”
He also discusses the complicity of the European Union (EU), which funds the Arabs “to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros in coordination with the Palestinian Authority…conducting a full-fledged land grab in order to create a de facto Palestinian state in Area C of Judea and Samaria…
“With over 1,000 illegal EU structures already on the ground, equipped with solar-paneled electricity, bathrooms with internal plumbing, and freshwater tanks, the EU is violating international law, by establishing these facts on the ground illegally on Israeli land.”
At the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the imminent enforcement of the law. “Today, the cabinet will approve the law to increase and strengthen enforcement in the field of planning and construction,” he stated.
By: United with Israel Staff
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