IDF Order in 97 Paved Way for Construction of Flashpoint West Bank Neighborhood

Military order came to light as part of state's request to delay the evacuation of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El.

The state's request to delay the evacuation of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El reveals that a military order, giving the settlement jurisdiction over lands outside its borders, was part of the process leading to the construction of those homes.

Section 2A (a ) of the military order relating to local authorities states that "The Israel Defense Forces commander in an area is allowed to announce that the regulations [meaning regulations governing the management of local authorities], in whole or in part, will also be applied in the event that a local authority decides to impose its authority under the regulations to people who are found 'adjacent to its defining borders.' This [IDF] order will determine to which kind of people or over which land the regulations will be applied."

Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood.
Olivier Fitoussi

In accordance with the section of the military order, on July 1, 1997 the local military commander signed an "announcement relating to imposing authority in certain places, such as Beit El."

According to the announcement, "The regulations ... will apply to the area adjacent to and contiguous with the defining borders of the Beit El local authority as was valid on the date this announcement was signed ... The Beit El local authority will impose its authority, under the regulations, on people in the adjacent area as well.

"This announcement applies to residents of Israel, whomever lives in the area and is an Israeli citizen or is eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return ... who lives in the adjacent area."

In this way, the municipal boundaries of Beit El were effectively expanded without any public announcements that might have generated domestic or international protest.

In 2009, the Supreme Planning Council, the top planning body in Judea and Samaria, in a procedural announcement, further stated that the chairman of the Supreme Planning Council is allowed to determine "that any area will be seen as part of the local authority if he sees it having a close link to the local authority's jurisdiction."

The spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories refused to say which local authorities in the West Bank other than Beit El had been granted authority outside their jurisdictions under these regulations.