Photo Credit: Lior Mizrahi/Flash90
The town of Ofra.

The IDF Civil Administration and the legal counsel for the Judea and Samaria region three years ago formulated an opinion in which they proposed a way to legalize hundreds of structures in the liberated territories that had been turned illegal by a redrawing of the maps – but to this day the Civil Administration is waiting for an OK from the Justice Ministry, which appears to be taking its sweet time, Israel Radio reported Thursday morning.

In a document leaked to Israel Radio and revealed Thursday morning, the Civil Administration writes that “in March 2014, the Civil Administration and the legal counsel in the Judea and Samaria area formulated an opinion that permits the legalization of structures that were removed from the Blue Line area but have remained part of official construction plans. The opinion was presented to the Justice Ministry and the Arrangement Team. Awaiting the approval of this opinion.”

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The saga of the Blue Line began with the late Plia Albeck, an attorney who for 24 years served as Director of the Civil Department in the State Prosecutor’s Office. Under several Likud governments, Albeck (who died in 2005) was responsible, among other things, for promoting the process of declaring parts of Judea and Samaria state-owned lands.

These lands were marked by a blue line on the maps.

The technological development and the improvement of digitization over the years enabled the refinement and improved accuracy of these maps. As a result, in 1999 (under a Labor government) the Civil Administration appointed the “Blue Line Team,” which has been reorganizing the maps of Judea and Samaria, and deleting Plia Albeck’s borderlines drawn years earlier.

As a result, in almost all the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria where the Blue Line Team has worked on improving the accuracy of the Blue Line, perfectly legal Jewish homes were turned illegal and subject to demolition decrees overnight – to the delight of anti-Zionist groups such as Peace Now.

In some communities, only isolated structures were affected, in others, dozens of housing units went to the dogs. In all, more than 2,000 homes in Judea and Samaria that had been purchased legally and whose status had been finalized years ago – are now on the chopping block.

According to the source of the leak in the Justice Ministry, the report suggesting legalizing close to 1,000 of these homes was presented to former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein before Minister Ayelet Shaked took office. The IDF Civil Administration presented several options for legalizing those “blue line” homes, but, as you may recall, the Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was more into evicting than saving Jewish settlers.

The current Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, has held a hearing on the issue at the end of 2016, according to the source, and concluded the discussion without recommending a plan of action, therefore nothing has been done regarding the status of those hundreds of homes.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said in response: “The issue was debated during internal discussions in the Justice Ministry, with the participation of the Military Advocate General’s Corps, which does not intend to elaborate on the content of these discussions.”

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