The Regavim organization filed a petition today in a Jerusalem District Court against the United Nations and the Jerusalem Municipality following the discovery of illegal construction being carried out at the United Nation’s Armon Hanatziv UNTSO compound.
The Regavim petition claims that in recent years the UN has taken advantage of its immunity by carrying out a series of illegal construction projects in the compound on property which is State owned. The UN was granted the area for use to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and her neighbors after the 1967 Six Day War.
The illegal building projects within the compound include: making structural changes to a historic building from the 1930’s, the illegal construction of a multi-story office building, the building of an illegal storage facility, and the installation of an illegal petrol station for UN personnel usage.
The petition also takes the Jerusalem Municipality to task along with its building planning committee as well as the Israel Land Authority, demanding the implementation of Section 212 of the Planning and Building Law, which permits the demolition of a building even if the party responsible for the violations is no longer living or has some form of immunity.
The Israel Land Authority is charged in accordance with the Public Land Law, of exercising its power to act in order to evict squatters who misuse State Lands.
In addition a recent Regavim investigation of State Archives indicates that at the time the compound was leased to the UN, a stipulation was included in the deal indicating that the government could terminate the agreement at any time with reasonable notification.
It is also unclear whether the UN received permission to expand its compound significantly from 44.6 dunam to its current 77.5 dunam.
Meir Deutch, Regavim’s Director of Policy and Knesset Relations, said on Monday (March 27), “Since the liberation of Jerusalem the UN has been given the privilege of using the allotted property as guests of the State of Israel. But the illegal work on the historic building, and the additional illegal building on State Land without the proper permits continues. The work in fact is causing environmental damage to surrounding areas.”
Deutch added, “if the tenant [the UN] doesn’t know how to behave it seems that the time has come for the government of the State of Israel to find a replacement tenant.’ It’s no secret the UN abuses Israel at every opportunity.”