Peace Now Finds Modi'in Illit Construction Continuing

Peace Now reported intensive construction activity, including the digging of new foundations, in the West Bank settlement of Modi'in Illit yesterday.

The Civil Administration had determined that this construction is illegal, and halted work there Tuesday.

After visiting Modi'in Illit, Dror Etkes, coordinator of Peace Now's Settlement Watch team, filed a complaint with the Judea and Samaria district police, citing illegal construction and violation of stop-work injunctions.

Peace Now also petitioned the High Court of Justice yesterday to halt the construction work. Attorney Michael Sfard asked the High Court to order that construction be halted and issue demolition orders for buildings that have already been erected.

This follows a report by Haaretz revealing that the Matityahu East neighborhood, where the construction is taking place, was being built on land that belonged to Palestinian residents of the nearby village of Bil'in.

The Civil Administration halted building Tuesday after it discovered that the construction permits provided by the head of the settlement's local council, Yaakov Gutterman, were illegal.

Construction is underway for some 750 out of 3,000 planned housing units.

A spokesman for the Civil Administration said, "The work was halted by a team of inspectors that happened to visit the site, and the administration has yet to complete preparations for seizing authority in the realm of planning and construction from the local authority, which will allow its inspection unit to bring about a halt to the illegal construction in Matityahu East and supervise the implementation of injunctions."