Israeli Deputy Defense Minister: Razing of Illegally Built Settlement Structures Needs My Approval

Following the removal of tents and a mobile home in West Bank outposts, Eli Ben-Dahan puts an end to procedure that allows removing structures without the political leadership's consent.

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An archive photo from 2013 showing the Jewish outpost of Esh Kodesh, near the Palestinian villages of Qusra and Jaloud, in the West Bank.
An archive photo showing the Jewish outpost of Esh Kodesh in the West Bank.Credit: Moti Milrod
Yotam Berger
Jonathan Lis

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) opted to change the procedure for the removal of illegally erected structures in West Bank settlements on Tuesday, so that from now on any such eviction will require the permission of the political leadership.

A statement published by Ben-Dahan stated that he has instructed Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, to change the procedure. "From today, the removal of illegal mobile structures in a 'fresh invasion' procedure will be brought for my approval before being carried out."  

It appears that the directive means that the Civil Administration will be required to inform Ben-Dahan of the razing of any type of structure that houses Jews in West Bank settlements.

According to the existing procedure, the Civil Administration is permitted to issue and carry out demolition orders involving temporary mobile structures without referring the cases to the political leadership and as long as it does so within 60 days of the structures being set up. Filing each case for the deputy' minister's approval may lead to delays of such demolitions.    

Ben-Dahan issued the letter following Tuesday's removal of six tents in Mitzpeh Avichai outpost near Kiryat Arba, which were set up following the June murder of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, and following the removal of an illegally erected trailer in the outpost of Esh Kodesh a day earlier.

It remains unclear whether Ben-Dahan has the authority to issue such a directive to the coordinator of government activities in the territories.

Ben-Dahan's bureau stressed that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman authorized him to make such decisions, and the coordinator of government activities in the territories' unit said that it was studying the new directive. Lieberman's bureau has yet to address the issue.   

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