Photo Credit: ועדת קרקעות אפרת
Illegal 6-story Arab building demolished by COGAT, May 20, 2024.

In the early hours of Monday morning, members of the IDF Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria (COGAT), accompanied by security forces, demolished a six-story building that had been erected without a permit and contrary to the law in Area C near the northern neighborhoods of Efrat. The demolition followed many years of legal proceedings.

Monday’s demolition is added to a series of significant demolitions of large buildings that have been carried out recently, and indicate a change in trend that was established by the adjunct minister in the defense ministry, Bezalel Smotrich, who is in charge of the settlement administration.


Based on the Oslo Accords, Arab construction in Area C is prohibited, a fact that has been ignored by individual Arabs as well as the Palestinian Authority throughout the 30 years that have passed since Oslo was signed. Area C is governed by Israel both in terms of civic administration and security, but generations of COGAT officials have ignored the law, even as they were busy taking down Jewish homes.

“In recent weeks, there is a feeling that the State of Israel is disillusioned with the conceptzia,” said Meir Deutsch, CEO of the Regavim movement which was founded by Smotrich and Yehuda Eliyahu.

“After criticizing the government’s conduct, now it’s time to congratulate the policy change,” Deutsch continued. “It has been 15 years since the Palestinian Authority has been shaping the future borders of the country on the ground. We hope that this is the first swallow that heralds the government’s oversight of this matter.”

“The first necessary step is to create deterrence, and deterrence is created by demolishing significant buildings, as we have seen several times in the last two months,” Deutch said.

The Regavim Movement acts to prevent illegal seizure of state land and to protect the rule of law and clean government in matters of land-use policy in the State of Israel.

Meanwhile, on May 10, responding to a Peace Now petition, the High Court of Justice ordered the prosecutor’s office and the police to launch a criminal investigation into the construction of a Jewish residential neighborhood in the Ha’Yovel outpost near Eli. After six years of court hearings and repeated postponement requests by the state, the High Court judges decided to compel the state to investigate the crime of Jews living in the Land of Israel.

As is common in High Court hearings on the settlements, the three-judge panel included two leftists: Daphne Barak-Erez and Ruth Ronnen, and one conservative, Yael Willner. Wilner objected to the court’s compelling the prosecution to investigate whether Jews should be allowed to settle in their country, writing instead that the court should only compel the prosecution to consider an investigation.

And so it goes.


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