Civil Administration Told to Crack Down on Illegal Arab Structures

Defense Ministry order gives priorities to building that pose a 'security threat', applying most to structures close to roads in Jordan valley and Mount Hebron.

The Civil Administration has received government orders to increase enforcement against illegal Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank, according to a deposition by an administration official to the High Court.

The deposition, by the administration's infrastructure authority, Colonel Zvika Cohen, came in response to a petition by Regavim.

Demolition of East Jerusalem house

The group is seeking the destruction of illegal Palestinian construction at six West Bank sites, citing a security threat.

In High Court deliberations a month ago, state representative Nahi Ben-Or said there had been no enforcement against the illegal construction.

At the end of deliberations, the justices ordered the state to provide additional information, and called its response inadequate.

The response suggests that while the government does not intend to raze any illegal construction in one village, El-Bireh, because it is not a priority, it does intend to destroy Palestinian homes.

"The Defense Ministry has given instructions to step up enforcement against illegally built Palestinian structures, giving priority to structures that pose a security threat," the state said in its response to the court.

Hebron homes razed

A defense source said that this mostly applies to structures close to roads in the Jordan Valley and Mount Hebron.

For example, two buildings near Hebron were destroyed Thursday.

Regavim head Yehuda Eliyahu said, "As far as we can see, on the ground there has been no increase in supervision in places with a security threat. Once more the state is offering excuses. Why not enforce [the law] in the Palestinian community? With the sort of backing the state receives from the High Court against enforcement in the Palestinian communities, we can understand why the country is losing so much ground."