Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense and Jewish Home MK Eliyahu Ben-Dahan visited the Netiv HaAvot neighborhood in Gush Etzion Thursday in an effort to capitalize on the Legalization Bill, which passed a first reading in the Knesset plenum Wednesday. The controversial measure would block the court ordered demolition of both Netiv HaAvot and Amona communities by retroactively authorizing them.
The High Court of Justice has accepted Arab claims that both neighborhoods were at least partially built on privately-owned Arab land and ordered the government to dismantle the communities. Netiv Avot, located adjacent to the town of Elazar, is scheduled for demolition by by March, 2018. Amona residents are scheduled to be evicted by December 25.
“The state’s position has been and remains clear: the Netiv HaAvot houses should not be destroyed!” Ben-Dahan stated. “Legal and practical solutions were offered to permit the houses to stay there and unfortunately, the Court chose to refuse them and decided against the government’s position,” he argued.
“In this reality, there is no choice but following up the ‘Legalization Bill,’ which will finally normalize the area and stop the perception that Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria are second-class citizens,” Ben-Dahan continued.
Acting Gush Etzion Council Head Moshe Seville also said that while the Legalization Bill constitutes an important step, the threat of demolition remains real and should be prevented.
Also Wednesday, lawyers for the Jerusalem Municipality asked the Jerusalem District Court to order immediate execution of 14 demolition orders for buildings in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Illegal construction there currently houses around 40 families.
The municipal request includes a demand to stop delaying the executions of the building demolitions concerning buildings, which were built on private property managed by the State.
In addition, Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman cautioned settlement activists against overreacting to the Legalization Bill, as well as to the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States. Judea and Samaria activists including Jewish Home MKs Naftali Bennett and Bezalel Smotrich welcomed Trump’s election and said they expected the new administration not to object to a large-scale building program in Judea and Samaria.
But speaking to local authorities on Thursday morning about the Amona eviction and the aforementioned bill, Liberman cautioned the activists about overreacting to the recent string of events. He said the incoming administration have asked Israel to behave “modestly” and warned people not to be taken by misguided perceptions of reality.
“I deplore the people attempting to steer wrong the residents and to set expectancies, because afterwards we still need to deal with the reality.
“I call for responsibility and not militancy. I think to represent the pragmatic and practical right in the middle of the populist right,” Liberman concluded.
TPS / Tazpit News Agency -By Ilana Messika