Israel Intends to Authorize West Bank Outpost Bloc Containing Hundreds of Illegal Buildings

Plan revealed in response to Yesh Din petition to evacuate illegal outpost of Adei Ad, east of Shilo, built on private land and home to residents involved in violent acts against Palestinians.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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The Adei Ad outpost in the West Bank
The Adei Ad outpost in the West Bank Credit: Nir Kafri
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Israel intends to authorize a bloc of five West Bank outposts east of Shilo that covers six square kilometers and includes hundreds of illegal structures.

The state submitted the announcement to the High Court of Justice in response a petition filed last year by the human rights group Yesh Din and the owners of the lands in question. The petition calls for immediate evacuation of the Adei Ad outpost because it was built without any building permits on private lands, and because outpost residents have been involved in violent acts threatening local security.

In its response filed Tuesday to the High Court, the state announced its intention to authorize all the Shilo region outposts. To this end, work is being carried out to verify the borders of state lands in the area referred to as “Blue line team,” as a preliminary stage for authorizing the outposts. After the team’s work is completed, the state intends to evacuate buildings found to be on private land and authorize the buildings on state land. Sixteen buildings in Adei Ad are estimated to be on private land.

The planning authorities have received from the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council a preliminary blueprint for planning construction in the location, which was discussed informally.

A substantial bloc of outposts and farms were built in the late 1990s, spread over six square kilometers of state land. There are four larger outposts, each with dozens of families: Adei Ad, Kida, Esh Kodesh and Ahiya. There are in addition a number of smaller outposts, including the Yishuv Hada’at, Geulat Zion and Gal Yosef farms.

The state response on Adei Ad suggests a total lack of enforcement of building violations over the Green Line. Data indicate that construction in Adei Ad began in the late 1990s, leading to 150 cases of illegal building, including 93 residential structures, nine agricultural structures, 27 instances of land development and 14 general cases. Despite the large number of cases, action was taken in only five instances to halt further construction. After the outpost was evacuated in 1999, the Civil Administration on three occasions seized portable structures and construction equipment, and twice demolished structures.

Regarding claims of violence by outpost residents toward Palestinian residents, the state asserted that 36 cases were opened in 2014 in the Shilo area and the adjacent Habladim outpost for illegal political acts including attacks and causing property damage. The cases led to 11 indictments against 19 individuals. In 2015, 16 cases were opened, only two of which have led to indictments. Three of the accused are from Adei Ad; the others are from the Shilo bloc, Beit El and Samaria.

The chaos in the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division became clear in the margins of the state’s response. Settlement Division officials asserted they own the rights to the land and leased them for agricultural work. But the state’s response indicates that the division had only one land-leasing agreement, which was only for one year starting April 2000. Despite this, the division continued working the land as if it were its own.

“Only a country that disdains the rule of law acts to authorize an outpost that the state itself admits is in the heart of a violent and criminal region,” says attorney Shlomi Zacharia from Yesh Din’s legal team. “Only a country that chooses to ignore the law and assists in its violation prides itself on awarding criminals rather than enforcing the law. It’s illegal and unethical behavior, which attests to the depths to which the rule of law has descended.”

On the other hand, the head of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council said that he welcomed the decision to authorize the outposts. “The state declared in the past that all that can be arranged will be arranged, and that is what we expect,” he said.

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