Israel Moves Forward With Plans to Retroactively Legalize Structures in West Bank Outposts

Illegal structures in Palgei Mayim and Givat Haroeh, outside of the settlement blocs, will be declared as state land.

Avi Cohen's home in Palgei Mayim, an unauthorized West Bank outpost. The photo shows a single-family home, faced in limestone and with a red tiled roof.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Civil Administration has begun the process of declaring state land in the West Bank outposts of Palgei Mayim and Givat Haroeh, after completing surveys to determine the boundaries of the land. The newly declared state lands are to encompass an illegally built access road in one outpost and illegal housing in the other. Once the process is complete, the construction and the road will be retroactively legalized.

In Palgei Mayim, 568 dunams (140 acres) have been declared state lands, and in Givat Haroeh, the figure is 409 dunams (about 101 acres), including an illegally built access road.

Planning officials say the declaration will make it possible for construction in Palgei Mayim to be retroactively legalized.

Both outposts are near the settlement of Eli in the northern West Bank, a location outside the “settlement blocks.” All of the few dozen permanent homes and prefabs in Palgei Mayim were built illegally and without a master plan. Among the residents of Palgei Maim, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Binyamin Regional Council, is Avi Cohen, head of the Finance Ministry’s national unit for the enforcement of planning and construction laws, as Haaretz reported in January.

According to the Binyamin Regional Council website, Givat Haroeh is situated on a site the settlers consider critical, and is “intended to create territorial contiguity with the Shiloh-Eli-Ma’aleh Levona block,” referring to settlements to the north, east and west.